Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB3222
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Full Text of HB3222  103rd General Assembly




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1    AN ACT concerning State government.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Language Equity and Access Act.
6    Section 5. Legislative purpose. The purpose of this Act is
7to ensure that all residents of the State have equal access to
8State services and, in particular, to remove language as a
9barrier for persons who have limited English proficiency and
10who may, therefore, be excluded from equitable access to State
11information, programs, services, and activities. It is the
12intent of the General Assembly that the State adopt a language
13equity and access policy that incorporates federal guidance
14for ensuring meaningful access for persons with limited
15English proficiency as provided by Title VI of the Civil
16Rights Act of 1964, U.S. Presidential Executive Order No.
1713166 (Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited
18English Proficiency), U.S. Presidential Executive Order 13985
19(Strengthen Racial Equity and Support for Underserved
20Communities Through the Federal Government), U.S. Presidential
21Executive Order 14091 (Further Advancing Racial Equity and
22Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal
23Government), other non-discrimination provisions in federal



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1statute, and any succeeding provisions of federal or state
2law, regulation, or guidance.
3    Section 10. Definitions.
4    In this Act:
5    "Covered entity" means any office, commission, board,
6authority, or other body that is directly responsible to an
7executive branch constitutional officer.
8    "Division of Language Equity and Access" or "DLEA" means
9the Division of Language Equity and Access within the
10Governor's Office of New Americans.
11    "Interpretation services" means listening to a
12communication in one language and orally converting it to
13another language in a manner that preserves the intent and
14meaning of the original message.
15    "Limited English proficient person" means a person, or the
16family member, caregiver, or decision maker of a person, who
17does not speak English as their primary language and who may
18have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand
20    "Meaningful access" means the provision of services in a
21manner that is equally accessible, without delay, denial or
22difference, and is meaningful to all individuals seeking
23services, regardless of their ability to speak or understand
25    "State Agency" means executive agencies, departments,



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1boards, commissions, and authorities directly responsible to
2the Governor.
3    "Translation services" means the conversion of text from
4one language to another in a written form to convey the intent
5and essential meaning of the original text.
6    "Vital documents" means documents that affect a person's
7access to, retention in, termination of, or exclusion from
8program services or benefits.
9    Section 15. Statewide Language Equity and Access.
10        This Act is created to ensure meaningful access to
11State programs and resources for persons with limited English
12proficiency. This Act requires the State to, at a minimum:
13        (1) compile a Language Needs Assessment Report based
14    on available U.S. Census data that identifies the
15    languages spoken throughout the State as described in
16    Section 30 of this Act;
17        (2) prepare a language access plan as detailed in
18    Section 35 of this Act;
19        (3) develop a rating and compliance framework to
20    assess progress by State agencies and covered entities,
21    including key performance indicators;
22        (4) prepare a compliance and progress report to be
23    submitted on an annual basis to the Governor and the
24    General Assembly by January 1 of every year;
25        (5) establish requirements for the availability of



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1    interpretation and translation services;
2        (6) set standards for adequate staffing of bilingual
3    employees at State agencies and other covered entities,
4    including a methodology for monitoring implementation and
5    updating the State Services Assurance Act and the
6    Bilingual Employment Plan, based on current Language Needs
7    Use Assessment Report conducted under Section 30 of this
8    Act;
9        (7) incorporate language equity compliance provisions
10    in State contracts with vendors, grantees and purchase of
11    care entities;
12        (8) ensure that whenever an emergency, weather, health
13    or other crisis situation has been declared, the State's
14    Limited English Person population is adequately notified
15    of the emergency, information and any actions required,
16    and has equitable access to emergency resources; and
17        (9) create the Division of Language Equity and Access
18    within the Governor's Office of New Americans to monitor
19    and provide expertise to ensure the implementation of this
20    Act.
21    Section 20. Division of Language Equity and Access.
22    The Division of Language Equity and Access is hereby
23created within the Governor's Office of New Americans to lead
24statewide efforts in the implementation of the State's
25language equity and access policy for Limited English



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1Proficient persons and to ensure meaningful access to
2information, services, programs, and activities offered by
3State agencies and other covered entities, including
4departments, offices, commissions, boards, or other agencies,
5for Limited English Proficient persons. DLEA shall have a
6full-time Director who is bilingual and has experience in
7serving immigrant populations. The role of DLEA is to advance
8and monitor implementation of and compliance with this Act by:
9        (1) providing oversight, central coordination, and
10    technical assistance to State agencies and covered
11    entities in the implementation of language access
12    requirements under this Act or under any other law,
13    regulation, or guidance related to language access;
14        (2) reviewing and monitoring each State agency's
15    language access plan for compliance with this Act;
16        (3) consulting with language access coordinators, the
17    Language Equity and Access Advisory Council, and State
18    agency directors or their equivalent;
19        (4) creating, distributing, and making available to
20    State agencies multilingual signage in the more frequently
21    encountered languages in the State, and other languages as
22    needed, informing individuals of the individual's right to
23    free interpretation services and how to request language
24    services;
25        (5) creating the complaint and investigation process
26    for Limited English Proficient persons to report Language



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1    Equity and Access violations;
2        (6) developing recommendations for a statewide policy
3    and draft a corresponding plan for the utilization of
4    interpreters and translators, including standards for
5    certification and qualifications;
6        (7) developing multilingual websites with information
7    about DLEA and information about relevant policies,
8    standards, plans, and complaint processes;
9        (8) preparing an annual compliance report to be
10    submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly;
11        (9) working with the Language Equity and Access
12    Advisory Council to engage external stakeholders in policy
13    and implementation discussions; and
14        (10) addressing other issues as necessary to ensure
15    equity and meaningful participation for persons with
16    limited English proficiency.
17     The DLEA shall adopt administrative rules as necessary to
18implement and administer this Act.
19    Section 25. Language Equity and Access Advisory Council.
20    (a) The Language Equity and Access Advisory Council is
21hereby established for the purposes of advising the Office of
22Language Equity and Access on:
23        (1) the development and implementation of language
24    equity and access policies and procedures;
25        (2) the quality of language services provided by State



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1    agencies and covered entities; and
2        (3) the overall State competency in working with
3    persons with limited English proficiency.
4    (b) The Language Equity and Access Advisory Council shall
5consist of the following 18 members:
6        (1) one member of the Senate, appointed by the
7    President of the Senate;
8        (2) one member of the Senate, appointed by the
9    Minority Leader of the Senate;
10        (3) one member of the House of Representatives,
11    appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
12        (4) one member of the House of Representatives,
13    appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of
14    Representatives;
15        (5) three members representing the non-profit sector,
16    appointed by the President of the Senate, upon the
17    recommendation of the Asian American, Black, and Latino
18    Legislative Caucuses;
19        (6) three members representing the non-profit sector,
20    appointed by the Speaker of the House, upon the
21    recommendation of the Asian American, Black, and Latino
22    Legislative Caucuses;
23        (7) six members, appointed by the Governor upon the
24    recommendation of non-profit organizations that serve or
25    advocate on behalf of immigrant and refugee communities;
26    and



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1        (8) two members who are consumers of State services,
2    appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of
3    non-profit organizations that serve or advocate on behalf
4    of immigrant and refugee communities.
5    (c) Appointments to the Language Equity and Access
6Advisory Council shall maximize representation of individuals
7from diverse language groups, diverse geographic areas of the
8State, and diverse professional backgrounds, and at least
9one-third of the persons appointed to the Language Equity and
10Access Advisory Council shall be individuals who reside in
11areas of the State outside of Cook County.
12    (d) Appointments to the Language Equity and Access
13Advisory Council are for 2-year terms, and the Language Equity
14and Access Advisory Council shall meet at least 4 times per
15year. Members of the Language Equity and Access Advisory
16Council shall appoint co-chairs at the Advisory Council's
17first meeting.
18    Section 30. Statewide Language Use Needs Assessment.
19    The DLEA shall work with State agencies and covered
20entities and shall use other available State resources, such
21as the Office of New Americans, the Office of Equity, and the
22Department of Human Services Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant
23Services, to ensure the State compiles available U.S. Census
24data on languages used across the State, including the
25identification of geographic patterns and trend data. The



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1report shall be compiled at least every 10 years in
2conjunction with the decennial federal Census but may be
3updated periodically using other Census data reports.
4    The Language Use and Needs Assessment report will be made
5available to State agencies and covered entities for the
6development of their Language Access Plans and overall
7improvement in service provision to Limited English
9    Section 35. Language Access Plans.
10    (a) Each State agency and all covered entities shall take
11reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to services,
12programs, and activities by persons with limited English
13proficiency. Therefore, each State agency and covered entity
14shall prepare a language access plan, which will describe its
15Limited English Proficient service population, the policy and
16programmatic actions they will implement, and the metrics that
17will be used to measure compliance.
18    (b) State agencies and covered entities shall designate a
19Language Access Coordinator that is responsible for the plan
20and language access plan activities.
21    (c) The adequacy of State agency and covered entities
22plans are determined by the totality of the circumstances,
23including the following 4 factors listed by federal guidance.
24Therefore, each language plan must begin with a language needs
25assessment that includes the following information:



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1        (1) the number or proportion of persons with limited
2    English proficiency served or encountered in the eligible
3    service population;
4        (2) the frequency with which persons with limited
5    English proficiency come in contact with the services,
6    programs, or activities;
7        (3) the nature and importance of the services,
8    programs, or activities; and
9        (4) the resources available to the State or covered
10    entity and the costs.
11    (d) Furthermore, each State agency and covered entity
12should describe in its plans how it will accomplish all of the
14        (1) Subject to subsection (a), each State agency and
15    covered entity shall provide competent, timely translation
16    services to persons with limited English proficiency who
17    seek to access information, services programs, or
18    activities.
19        (2) Subject to subsection (a), each State agency and
20    covered entity shall provide translation services of vital
21    documents to limited English proficient persons who seek
22    to access information, services, programs, or activities,
23    as follows:
24            (A) translation services of vital documents for
25        each eligible limited English proficient group that
26        constitutes 5% or 1,000 members, whichever is less, of



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1        the population of persons eligible to be served or
2        likely to be affected or encountered; or
3            (B) if there are fewer than 50 persons in a limited
4        English proficient group that reaches the 5% threshold
5        in paragraph (1), written notice in the primary
6        language to the limited English proficient language
7        group of the right to receive competent oral
8        interpretation of those written materials free of
9        cost.
10    (e) The DLEA shall develop a template and mechanism for
11collecting, storing, and analyzing Language Access Plans.
12    (f) Following the first submitted plan, language access
13plans shall include an assessment of performance metrics for
14the previous year.
15    (g) Upon review, the DLEA shall provide guidance and
16feedback to each State agency and covered entity, including
17any corrective action recommendations to ensure compliance
18with the language access plans.
19    (h) Language access plans and evaluations shall be made
20public and accessible.
21    (i) The DLEA shall develop a rating framework for
22evaluation of language access plans and implementation.
23    Section 40. Compliance and Accountability.
24    (a) By January 1, 2024, and every January 1 thereafter,
25the DLEA shall submit a Language Equity and Access Compliance



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1Report to the General Assembly. The Compliance Report shall be
2based on information collected during the preceding fiscal
3year and shall, at minimum, include:
4        (1) key performance metrics for the previous year;
5        (2) the following information for each State agency
6    and covered entity:
7            (A) the language access plan, including language
8        access services offered;
9            (B) the number and percentage of people who are
10        Limited English Proficient Persons who use the
11        services of the State agency or covered entity, listed
12        by language other than English;
13            (C) a roster of bilingual employees, their titles,
14        office locations, the languages other than English
15        that the persons speak, and whether or not the
16        employees are certified as bilingual in that language;
17            (D) the name and contact information of the
18        language access coordinator;
19            (E) a description of any use of telephone-based
20        interpretation services, including the number of times
21        telephone-based interpretation services were used, the
22        languages for which they were used, and the number of
23        times bilingual employees provided in-person
24        interpretation services;
25            (F) a description of the:
26                (i) telephone requests for translation or



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1            interpretation services;
2                (ii) in-person requests for translation or
3            interpretation services; and
4                (iii) electronic requests for translation or
5            interpretations services;
6            (G) public notices of the availability of
7        translation or interpretation services upon request;
8            (H) an ongoing employee development and training
9        strategy to maintain well trained bilingual employees
10        and general staff;
11            (I) a list and description of all written
12        translated materials provided, including the total
13        number, languages, and services requested; and
14            (J) a list and description of all complaints
15        received, including information on the number of
16        complaints, the method received, the breakdown of
17        affected languages, the written response to each
18        complaint, and the time frame within which each
19        complaint was handled.
20    (b) State agencies shall respond to language access
21complaints, in writing, within 30 days after their receipt.
22All complaints and responses shall be recorded in each
23agency's respective annual report.
24    (c) The DLEA may investigate potential violations of this
25Act if not resolved by the State agency or covered entity. The
26DLEA may attempt to resolve non-compliance with this Act by



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1any State agency or covered party through informal processes,
2including mediation and conference and conciliation.
3    (d) If, after an investigation and attempt to resolve an
4incidence of Department non-compliance, the DLEA is unable to
5resolve the matter, the DLEA may transmit a written finding of
6non-compliance, specifying the nature of the non-compliance
7and the recommended corrective measures, to the Governor, the
8Language Equity and Access Advisory Council, and it may
9transmit the same information in the annual compliance report
10to the General Assembly.
11    Section 45. Administrative support.     The Governor's
12Office shall provide administrative and other support to the
13Division of Language Equity and Access.
14    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect on July
151, 2023.