SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Dagmara “Dee” Avelar to expand access to language support services statewide recently passed the Illinois House of Representatives.
“Our diversity is what makes Illinois a great place to live, and that includes diversity in language. Everyone, no matter what language they speak, deserves to access the state services they need to live happy and healthy lives,” Avelar said. “By providing access to state programs in a multitude of languages other than English, we’re making it easier for those in need to access vital state services.”
House Bill 2333 establishes the Division of Language Equity and Access within the Governor’s Office of New Americans to lead statewide efforts in addressing language equity for residents with limited English proficiency. The Division is responsible for developing comprehensive and consistent policies that promote meaningful access to state programs and resources for individuals with limited English proficiency, such as providing interpretation and translation services, creating standards for adequate staffing of bilingual employees at state agencies, and other provisions related to ensuring equity for those with limited English proficiency. The bill also establishes the Language Equity and Access Advisory Council to advise the Division on language equity and access policies, the quality of language services provided by state agencies, state competency in working with persons with limited English proficiency, and state agency policies.
“Navigating state services can be complicated, but for individuals with limited English abilities, it can be nearly impossible. That’s always been unacceptable, and this bill is the first step to remedying that injustice,” Avelar said. “Increased language equity and access uplifts Illinoisans statewide, especially immigrants and communities of color.”
House Bill 2333 now heads to the Senate for consideration. For more information on Avelar’s legislative agenda, please visit www.ilga.gov.