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A03924 Summary:

COSPNSRFall, Santabarbara, Seawright, Jacobson, Meeks
Amd §§74-a & 103, Pub Off L
Requires public officers and public bodies to make reasonable efforts to provide qualified interpreters at no charge for the hearing impaired at public meetings and hearings upon written request to the public officer responsible for the siting of such hearing; also requires installation and use of assistive listening devices.
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A03924 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Dickens
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public officers law, in relation to the accessibil- ity of public hearings and meetings   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To provide interpreters and assisted listening devices for deaf and hearing impaired individuals at public hearings and meetings.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Amends section 74-a of the Public Officers Law requiring the services of interpreters for the deaf or hard of hearing be made available upon request of a deaf or hard of hearing individual at public hearings, as well as requiring certain hearing rooms to be equipped with assisted listening devices. The bill also amends section 103 of the Public Offi- cers Law to ensure the provision of interpreters at meetings conducted by public bodies, as well as requiring certain hearing rooms to be equipped with assisted listening devices.Provisions are included for the public body to not have to provide the services of an interpreter or assisted listening devices if such actions pose an undue hardship on the public body.   DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION (IF APPLICABLE): The bill changes the term "hearing impaired" to "deaf of hard of hear- ing.It   JUSTIFICATION: The services of interpreters, and assisted listening devices, for indi- viduals who are deaf or hearing impaired are essential if such persons are to fully participate in public hearings and meetings conducted by governmental bodies. Similar provisions exist for administrative rule making proceedings. Individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired who wish to attend such should be afforded every opportunity possible to fully engage with public bodies by participating at public hearings. Provisions are included in this bill allowing the public body to not have to engage in the services of a qualified interpreter, or provide assisted listening devices if doing so presents an undue hardship.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2019-2020: A3385A - Passed Assembly 2018: A8158 - Passed Assembly 2017: A8158: referred to governmental operations 2015 -2016: A.1669A - Passed Assembly 2013 -2014: A.2826 - Passed Assembly 2011 - 2012:A.1932- Passed Assembly 2009 - 2010:A.2102- Passed Assembly 2009:A.637A- Passed Assembly   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: Minor costs associated with the hiring of interpreters on a meeting per meeting basis, and with equipping hearing rooms with assisted listening devices.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect January 1, 2022.
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