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The fight for a sane approach to protecting the ability of ALL professional interpreters and translators to work as they choose is approaching the finish line.
You may be suffering from "AB 5 fatigue" along with the Pandemic and Zoom fatigue so many of us feel. But the urgency surrounding California's infamous AB 5 - the "gig workers" bill, now law, that applied a sweeping mandate to all kinds of independent contractors in the effort to protect gig workers has not gone away.
We have covered this issue extensively in previous blog posts for more than a year, and now, we are approaching a second finish line. After more than 6 months of efforts, AB 1850, the proposed "AB5 fix-it bill" is about to go up for a final vote in California's Senate, as early as next week.
We need your help for one final push. AB 1850 currently includes language that exempts "certified translators" from the mandatory employee status forced on practicing interpreters and translators under AB 5. Unfortunately, certified translators make up only two percent of independent language professionals in California. This leaves thousands of professional interpreters and translators at risk of losing their livelihoods.
Hundreds of interpreters and translators have spent months contacting their local legislators at each critical step during 2020's legislative session, to get us to this final, last step. It's time for one more strong effort to convince lawmakers to include all independent contractor professional interpreters and translators.
Our job is simple - contact Lorena Gonzalez and California State Senators and urge them to make this simple but crucial change: Amend "certified translators" to "professional translators and interpreters."
By so doing, California will secure the ability of thousands of essential practicing language professionals, without whom meaningful language access is impossible.
By so doing, California will honor and uphold the critical role the Americans with Disabilities Act plays in the lives of more than 2.2 million Californians who are Deaf, deaf-blind, Hard of Hearing, or have a speech disability.
By so doing, first responders and frontline local government and social service agencies throughout California will secure their ability to communicate life-or-death, health and economic information to ALL residents during the ongoing pandemic.
By so doing, California will restore fairness to the thousands of independent contractors, mostly women and from immigrant families, who bring economic diversity and vitality to the state.
Your action NOW will help keep our needs visible and urgent in California's State Senate ahead of its vote on AB 1850. CoPTIC, the Coalition of Practicing Translators and Interpreters of California, has made huge headway in this effort. California Senators are now aware of our profession and its essential role, when before we were mostly invisible. After months of contact by her constituents and with CoPTIC, the bill’s author Lorena Gonzalez pledged on the Assembly floor on June 11 that Senators would redress the omission of interpreters. You can see her make this promise here:
In the words of the Joint National Committee on Languages:
Proposed AB 1850 has the potential to remedy the devastating effects of AB 5 on professional interpreters and translators. The bill includes a provision for “professional services,” including “certified translators.” However, the specific exemption of “certified translators” excludes thousands of professional translators and all interpreters. This exclusion not only negatively affects those who provide highly skilled professional language services, but also endangers millions of Californians who rely on their work.
For AB 1850 to effectively clarify AB 5, an amendment must be made to change the language of exemption to include “professional translators and interpreters.”
HOW TO CONTACT ASSEMBLYMEMBER LORENA GONZALEZ:
And cc (both on email and snail mail):
Chief of Staff: Shubhangi.Domokos@asm.ca.gov
Legislative Director: Laurel.Brodzinsky@asm.ca.gov
Senator Jerry Hill: Jerry.Hill@sen.ca.gov
Chief of Staff: Laura.McWilliams@sen.ca.gov
Legislative Director: Caitlin.Armstrong@sen.ca.gov
Legislative Aide: Nicole.Kurian@sen.ca.gov
District Director: Marc.Hershman@sen.ca.gov
Labor Aide: Gideon.Baum@sen.ca.gov
Senator Pro Tem Toni Atkins: Toni.Atkins@sen.ca.gov
Sacramento Office: 916-319-2080
District Office: 619-338-8090
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, 80th District
State Capitol Room 2114
Sacramento, CA 95814
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, 80th District
1350 Front Street, Suite 6022
San Diego, CA 92101
HOW TO CONTACT STATE SENATORS
1. CALL and EMAIL YOUR Senator NOW. Ask for a Zoom meeting, a phone call, FaceTime, whatever it takes:
2. To FIND your Senator, use THIS: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
3. OR find the roster of all 40 senators at: https://www.senate.ca.gov/senators
4. Then email or call. Their email will follow this template: FirstName.LastName@sen.ca.gov
5. Their phone number will follow this template: 916-651-40XX. (The last 2 digits are your Senate District number, from 01 to 40.)
6. Ask them to amend AB 1850 so that it says: "professional translators and interpreters."
You can download and print handouts to share with your Senator here:
Protect our professional livelihoods AND the people we serve.
Make YOUR voice heard!