• Current through October 23, 2012

For purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) "Access or participate" means to be informed of, participate in, and benefit from public services, programs, and activities offered by a covered entity at a level equal to English proficient individuals.

(2) "Covered entity" means any District government agency, department, or program that furnishes information or renders services, programs, or activities directly to the public or contracts with other entities, either directly or indirectly, to conduct programs, services, or activities. The term "covered entity" shall not include the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

(3)(A) "Covered entity with major public contact" means a covered entity whose primary responsibility consists of meeting, contracting, and dealing with the public.

(B) Covered entities with major public contact are:

(i) Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration;

(ii) Department of Health;

(iii) Department of Mental Health;

(iv) Department of Human Services;

(v) Department of Employment Services;

(vi) Fire and Emergency Medical Services;

(vii) District of Columbia Housing Authority;

(viii) District of Columbia general ambulatory and emergency care centers;

(ix) Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency;

(x) Metropolitan Police Department;

(xi) District of Columbia Public Schools;

(xii) Department of Motor Vehicles;

(xiii) Department of Housing and Community Development;

(xiv) Department of Public Works;

(xv) Department of Corrections;

(xvi) Office on Aging;

(xvii) District of Columbia Public Library;

(xviii) Department of Parks and Recreation ;

(xix) Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs ;

(xx) Child and Family Services Agency;

(xxi) Office of Human Rights;

(xxii) Office of Personnel;

(xxiii) Office of Planning;

(xxiv) Office of Contracting and Procurement;

(xxv) Office of Tax and Revenue; and

(xxvi) Office of the People's Counsel.

(C) Other covered entities with major public contact may be designated by the Language Access Director through the Mayor, by regulation, after consultation with the D. C. Language Access Coalition in accordance with § 2-1935(b)(6).

(4) "Language Access Director" means the official in the Office of Human Rights who, pursuant to § 2-1935, coordinates and supervises the activities of District agencies, departments, and programs undertaken to comply with the provisions of this subchapter.

(5) "Limited or no-English proficiency" means the inability to adequately understand or to express oneself in the spoken or written English language.

(6) "Oral language services" means the provision of oral information necessary to enable limited or no-English proficiency residents to access or participate in programs or services offered by a covered entity. The term "oral language services" shall include placement of bilingual staff in public contact positions; the provision of experienced and trained staff interpreters; contracting with telephone interpreter programs; contracting with private interpreter services; and using interpreters made available through community service organizations that are publicly funded for that purpose.

(7) "Vital documents" means applications, notices, complaint forms, legal contracts, and outreach materials published by a covered entity in a tangible format that inform individuals about their rights or eligibility requirements for benefits and participation. The term "vital documents" shall include tax-related educational and outreach materials produced by the Office of Tax and Revenue, but shall not include tax forms and instructions.

(June 19, 2004, D.C. Law 15-167, § 2, 51 DCR 4688; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-262, § 404, 54 DCR 794.)


Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-262, in par. (3)(B)(ix), substituted "Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency" for "Emergency Management Agency".

Legislative History of Laws

Law 15-167, the "Language Access Act of 2004", was introduced in Council and assigned Bill No. 15-139, which was referred to the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Latino Affairs and Property.  The Bill was adopted on first and second readings on March 2, 2004, and April 6, 2004, respectively.  Signed by the Mayor on April 21, 2004, it was assigned Act No. 15-414 and transmitted to both Houses of Congress for its review.   D.C. Law 15-167 became effective on June 19, 2004.

For Law 16-262, see notes following § 2-904.

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of Authority for Rulemaking under the Language Access Act, see Mayor's Order 2007-127, May 31, 2007 (54 DCR 9065).