WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced her co-sponsorship of the Coronavirus Language Access Act, legislation introduced by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) that would expand access to coronavirus-related resources by increasing language access services and supporting culturally appropriate COVID-19 response programs to help older Americans, those who have limited English proficiency (LEP), and people with disabilities.
“We cannot overcome this crisis until we can speak to all Americans. At the beginning of the pandemic, I launched a portal on my website with information and assistance in different languages so that all Nevadans can access the resources they need as we navigate COVID-19. But the federal government must work harder to communicate with the nearly 25 million Americans who have limited English proficiency,” said Senator Rosen. “This legislation will ensure that coronavirus-related information, services, and relief programs are clear and accessible to all. By ensuring that all Americans have access to these much-needed resources, we can help stop the spread of coronavirus in our communities and put workers and families on the road to recovery.”
BACKGROUND: The Coronavirus Language Access Act would:
- Require federal agencies receiving COVID-19 funding to provide translated materials for COVID-19-related programs and opportunities within 7 business days after the English version is available,
- Require federal agencies receiving COVID-19 funding to provide oral language assistance services for COVID-19-related programs and opportunities,
- Require the head of every federal agency affected by the bill to submit a report about its compliance with the requirements of the bill to the relevant congressional Committees,
- Provide $200 million for coronavirus-related language access services – $150 million of which must be for state (including DC), Tribal, and territorial health departments and community-based organizations to support culturally appropriate coronavirus response programs,
- Require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create a coronavirus informational hotline with trained interpreters that provides COVID-19 information to the public,
- Require CDC to provide translated materials relating to COVID-19 screening, testing, treatment, and educational information to state (including DC), Tribal, and territorial agencies,
- And provide $20 million to states for Area Agencies on Aging and $10 million to states for Statewide Independent Living Councils to support older LEP individuals and LEP individuals with disabilities, respectively, in accessing COVID-19 information through partnerships with community-based organizations.