May 8, 2020

Senator Jerry Hill
Chair, Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee
1020 N Street, Room 545
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: SB 900 (Hill) – Support

Dear Chairman Hill:

On behalf of the Association of Independent Judicial Interpreters of California (AIJIC), which represents freelance court interpreters providing language access for Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals in the family, criminal, civil, and administrative courts and other settings, I would like to express our strong support for SB 900.
AIJIC’s membership is comprised of dedicated professionals providing vital language services, and like other freelance accredited language professionals, are hired by a range of public and private entities every year, and have the ability to set their own conditions and rates.

We support SB 900 for the following reasons:
1. It would ensure the continuity of language access to LEP disenfranchised, low-income immigrants and other groups who depend on the flexibility of the services that freelance language professionals provide in legal proceedings, healthcare and other fields.
2. It would bring back to California thousands of job opportunities that have been lost due to the inability of small businesses to hire as employees the freelancers who intermittently provide services to their clients.
3. It would provide relief to certain categories of professional interpreters and translators from what we believe are unintended consequences of AB5.
4. It would provide small businesses, many of which are minority-owned, with the option and/or opportunity to continue to hire freelance language professionals to provide language services to LEP individuals.

The significance of all the above cannot be overstated, particularly at a time when the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in an unprecedented toll for the economy. In the U.S. alone, millions of jobs have been lost and the businesses that survive will face a difficult and uncertain future. As California begins to consider the process for reopening the economy, now more than ever policy initiatives, such as SB 900, which foster economic growth are desperately needed.

It is for these reasons that AIJIC stands in strong support of SB 900.

Respectfully,

Association of Independent Judicial Interpreters of California
18653 Ventura Blvd., Suite 429
Tarzana, California 91356

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cc: Senator Mike Morrell, Vice Chair, Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee
Gideon Baum, Consultant, Senate Labor, Public Employment, and Retirement Committee