BillTracker

Providing public notices of public health, safety, and welfare in a language other than English (Hasegawa, Chase)

Requires state agencies, required by law or rule to provide public notices to a community or area to advise or inform the public about an imminent or emergent public health, safety, or welfare risk, to also provide notices in the language that diverse residents can understand when a significant segment of the community speaks a language other than English and has limited proficiency in English.

1ST SUBSTITUTE COMPARED TO ORIGINAL:
-Changes the requirement from providing notices in a language diverse residents can understand to providing notices in a manner which has been determined to be most
effective in communicating with significant segments of the community who speak a language other than English. This applies to state agencies and political subdivisions.
-Replaces language referencing emergency management departments with political subdivisions or emergency management contractors.
-Removes the requirement that emergency management departments air public service announcements by TV or radio.
-Requires political subdivisions, rather than emergency management organizations, to maintain or have access to updated demographic information, and to grant access to
that information to those authorized to issue emergency notices on their behalf.
-Changes the definition of significant segment from 500 residents to 1,000 residents. Modifies the intent section.

EFFECT OF HOUSE COMMITTEE STRIKER:
(1) Retains the intent section, but removes all other provisions of the underlying bill, which:
a) Required state agencies and local jurisdictions to provide specified emergency and safety-related notices and services in a manner that has been determined to be most effective in communicating with significant segments of a community that speak a language other than English; and
b) Required each political subdivision to maintain or have access to updated demographic and language information for its jurisdiction.
(2) Replaces the removed provisions with provisions that do the following:
a) Provides that, during proclaimed emergencies, state agencies when required by law or rule, and political subdivisions, must provide life safety information in a language or manner that can be understood by significant population segments unless technologically infeasible.
b) Requires local organizations and joint local organizations for emergency management to include communication plans addressing emergency notification of life safety information to significant population segments as part of local comprehensive emergency management plans.
c) Requires local organizations and joint local organizations to submit their communication plans, and information regarding any plan deployment, to the Military Department Emergency Management Division at specified intervals, and requires the Military Department to report to the Legislature every five years, beginning December 1, 2019, regarding compliance with planning requirements and any plan deployment by local jurisdictions.
d) Defines "significant population segments" as those limited English proficient groups comprising five percent, or 1,000 residents, whichever is less, of the affected population, as determined using the Office of Financial Management's limited English proficiency population estimates.
e) Defines "life safety information" as information or instructions provided to people to reduce their risk of harm and to keep them safe in response to life-threatening events, such as information regarding evacuation, sheltering and sheltering in place, facility lockdown, and where to obtain food and water.
f) Adds a null and void clause.

EFFECT OF HOUSE STRIKER AMENDMENT:
(1) Retains the intent section, but removes all other provisions of the underlying bill, which:
(a) Required state agencies and local jurisdictions to provide specified emergency and safety-related notices and services in a manner that has been determined to be most effective in communicating with significant segments of a community that speak a language other than English; and
(b) Required each political subdivision to maintain or have access to updated demographic and language information for its jurisdiction.
(2) Replaces the removed provisions with provisions that do the following:
(a) Provides that, state agencies providing life safety information during an emergency or disaster, and political subdivisions during proclaimed emergencies, must provide life safety information in a language or manner that can be understood by significant population segments unless technologically infeasible. Requires, in instances in which provision of life safety information was determined to be technologically infeasible, that the state agency or political subdivision report to the Legislature describing the nature of the technological infeasibility and a plan to remedy the issue.
(b) Requires local organizations and joint local organizations for emergency management to include communication plans addressing emergency notification of life safety information to significant population segments as part of local comprehensive emergency management plans.
(c) Requires local organizations and joint local organizations to submit their communication plans to the Military Department Emergency Management Division at specified intervals, and requires the Military Department to submit a report to the Legislature every five years, beginning December 1, 2019, containing the local communication plans.
(d) Defines "significant population segments" as those limited English proficient groups comprising five percent, or 1,000 residents, whichever is less, of the affected population, as determined using the Office of Financial Management's limited English proficiency population estimates.
(e) Defines "life safety information" as information or instructions provided to people to reduce their risk of harm and to keep them safe in response to life-threatening events, such as information regarding evacuation, sheltering and sheltering in place, facility lockdown, and where to obtain food and water.
(f) Adds a null and void clause.

EFFECT OF SECOND HOUSE STRIKER AMENDMENT:
(1) Retains the intent section, but removes all other provisions of the underlying bill, which: (a) Required state agencies and local jurisdictions to provide specified emergency and safety-related notices and services in a manner that has been determined to be most effective in communicating with significant segments of a community that speak a language other than English; and (b) Required each political subdivision to maintain or have access to updated demographic and language information for its jurisdiction.
(2) Replaces the removed provisions with provisions that do the following: (a) Requires, beginning December 1, 2019, that a state agency that provides life safety information in an emergency or disaster: (i) Must provide to the Legislature a copy of its current communication plan for notifying significant population segments of life safety information, including the agency's point of contact; and (ii) must also submit an annual report to the Legislature identifying those instances of emergency or disaster in the preceding year in which life safety information was provided and what strategies and means were used to notify citizens with limited English proficiency. (b) Requires local organizations and joint local organizations for emergency management to include communication plans addressing emergency notification of life safety information to significant population segments as part of local comprehensive emergency management plans, and to implement those communication plans. (c) Requires local organizations and joint local organizations to submit their communication plans to the Military Department Emergency Management Division at specified intervals, and requires the Military Department to submit a report to the Legislature every five years, beginning December 1, 2019, containing the status of the local communication plans. (d) Provides that, during emergency or disaster after-action reviews, local organizations and joint local organizations must evaluate the effectiveness of communication of life safety information, and inform the Military Department of technological challenges which limited communication efforts, along with recommendations and resources needed to address those challenges. Requires the Military Department to annually report to the Legislature, beginning December 1, 2019, regarding instances of emergencies or disasters in which communication of life safety information was technologically infeasible, and, when potential technology solutions exist, any recommendations and an estimate of resources required to remedy the infeasibility. (e) Defines "significant population segments" as those limited English proficient groups comprising five percent, or 1,000 residents, whichever is less, of the affected population, as determined using the Office of Financial Management's limited English proficiency population estimates. (f) Defines "life safety information" as information provided to people during a response to a life-threatening emergency or disaster informing them of actions they can take to preserve their safety. (g) Adds a null and void clause.

Hearing Date: Monday, April 03, 2017 -- 1:30 pm

WA State Legislature Link:
http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5046&Year=2017    (opens a new browser tab)