Sign language interpreter licensure expanded

Lawmakers gave final approval May 20 to a bill that expands licensure requirements for sign language interpreters.

LB287, sponsored by Malcolm Sen. Ken Haar, requires all interpreters to obtain licensure by Jan. 1, 2016, and pay a licensure fee established by the commission. An individual or entity providing interpreting services without a license after that date will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500 for each offense.

Interpreting services will be exempt from the licensure requirement if conducted:
• as part of a religious service;
• in a health care emergency until a licensed interpreter could be obtained;
• by a student under the direct supervision of a licensed interpreter;
• by an educational interpreter working under regulation of the state Department of Education; or
• by an individual licensed in another state who is awaiting commission approval in Nebraska.

LB287 also creates a licensure category for video remote interpreting services.

The bill passed 48-0.

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