This bill would require law would require simultaneous interpretation in the top three most common languages among the affected population for any public meeting at which more than 65 members of the public are expected to attend, along with all Council, Community Board and Borough Board public meetings. In addition, this bill would require documents for such meetings to be translated into those languages, if practicable. Finally, this bill would allow people to request in advance that the city provide simultaneous interpretation into additional languages and at smaller public meetings.
Int. No. 306
By Council Member Rodriguez
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to requiring simultaneous translation of certain city public meetings
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section 1. Chapter 47 of the New York city charter is amended by adding a new section 1063-a as follows:
§ 1063-a. Simultaneous language services for certain public meetings. a. Definitions. As used in this section:
City entity. The phrase “city entity” means any community board, task force and any entity subject to paragraph d of section 1063.
Simultaneous language services. The term “simultaneous language services” means (i) the contemporaneous interpretation of everything that is spoken in a public meeting from English into another language, including sign language, whether in person or via a real-time feed and whether by means of another person or software and (ii) if practicable, prior or simultaneous translation of written text central to the meeting at issue, including documents covered by subdivision e of section 103 of the public officers law.
b. Except as otherwise provided by law, each city entity, for every meeting thereof (i) that is required to be public pursuant to article 7 of the public officers law and which 65 or more members of the public are expected to attend, or (ii) that is open to the public pursuant to section 42, 43, 85 or 2800 of the charter, shall ensure that simultaneous language services for such meeting are available in each of the top three non-English languages spoken, as determined by the department of city planning, in the city or in the relevant borough or community district, as applicable.
c. Except as otherwise provided by law, each city entity, for every meeting thereof required by law to be public shall provide a mechanism by which members of the public may request simultaneous language services for any meeting or language not required by subdivision b of this section. Such city entity shall, upon receiving such a request, provide the requested simultaneous language services if possible. Providing such services is presumed to be possible if the request is received at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting at issue.
d. This section does not create any cause of action or constitute a defense in any legal, administrative or other proceeding, and does not authorize any violation of any other federal, state or local law.
§ 2. This local law takes effect 180 days after it becomes law.
LS 5476/Int. 1097-2016