LA City Council Seeks To Expand City Meeting Language Interpretations

Interpreter signing during business meeting.

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A motion aimed at expanding live interpretation of City Council committee meetings to Spanish and other languages will be considered by the Los Angeles City Council after being introduced by Councilman Kevin de León and Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who said today the city ``must go further to ensure equitable participation in the democratic process.''

The motion, which was introduced Wednesday, requests the City Clerk and the Information Technology Agency to issue recommendations to the City Council for the expansion of live interpreting services for all of the City Council's committee meetings, both online and in-person.

``Over half of LA's nearly 4 million residents speak a language other than English at home,'' Raman said in a statement Thursday.

City Council meetings currently feature live interpretation for Spanish speakers, but committee meetings only provide interpreting services if requested by City Council committee chairs at least 72 hours in advance.

``And even if interpretation services are requested in advance of a meeting, they only cove public comments made in other languages; the content of the remainder of the meeting is never able to be interpreted into Spanish or any other language,'' the motion, which was seconded by Councilman Curren Price, states.

``The current lack of interpretation available for Council Committee Meetings is of consequence not only to members of the public, who are left on their own to piece together discussions and votes that may have drastic impacts on their lives -- but also to elected officials like myself, who are deprived of the chance to hear and consider these opinions in weighing these decisions,'' Raman said.

The motion notes that 35% of Los Angeles households speak Spanish at home and 58.3% of the city's residents sometimes or always speak a language other than English at home.

The motion was referred to the Rules, Elections, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee.

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