DEC 15, 1994 The Honorable Mitch McConnell United States Senate Washington, D.C.

20510-1702 Dear Senator McConnell: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, XX , regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). XX is concerned that the ADA requires public entities to use the services of interpreters, but that the Federal government does not regulate interpreter services. The ADA is a comprehensive civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs, activities, and services provided or operated by public entities, including the Pulaski County School District. The Department of Justice regulation implementing title II, 28 C.F.R. Part 35, requires that public entities furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity conducted by a public entity. Sign language interpreters may be employed to meet this obligation. In determining whether an interpreter is an appropriate auxiliary aid, factors to consider are the context in which the communication is taking place, the number of people involved, and the importance of the communication. Thus, this provision is somewhat flexible. For example, in many simple transactions, such as paying bills or filing applications, communications provided through written materials and written notes may provide effective communication. However, situations which involve more complex or extensive communications, such as a classroom discussion, may require the use of qualified interpreters, assistive listening systems or other aids or services. cc: Records Chrono Wodatch Breen Blizard FOIA McDowney Freidlander N:\UDD\BERGER\MCCONNEL\secy.thompson

01-03517​ -2A public entity is not required to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity or in undue financial burden and administrative burdens. While title II requires that any interpreter used by a public entity must be "qualified," i.e., able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary, the ADA does not require an interpreter to hold a degree or to be "certified." This definition focuses on the actual ability of the interpreter in a particular interpreting context to facilitate effective communication. XX also expressed concern regarding limited

interpreter services in her area and the expense of these services. Supply and demand in a free market is responsible for interpreter costs. The ADA has no provisions for regulating the fees of interpreting services or any other auxiliary aid or service. However, the title II regulation states that a public entity may not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of measures, such as the provision of auxiliary aids, needed to comply with the ADA. I hope this information will be helpful to you in responding to your constituent. Sincerely, Loretta King Acting Assisting Attorney General Civil Rights Division 01-03518​ XX Somerset, Kentucky XX

FAX COVER SHEET DATE: October 13, 1994 TO: Senator Mitch McConnell FAX: XX FROM: XX PHONE: XX FAX: XX TIME: 4:55 PM PHONE: XX

RE: Interpreters for the Deaf and ADA Number of pages including cover sheet: 2 Message Dear Senator McConnell, For many years, my husband XX and I have been avid supporters of yours. I am deaf, and I met you a few years ago at XX home. My reasons for contacting you are because I need your help regarding the ADA laws and the deaf. First, I would like to praise all the peacemakers who have brought this law for the disabled about. However, as a deaf individual, I am concerned that some areas have been overlooked and need to be brought to your attention immediately before our future is robbed by misuse of this law. The problems I would like to discuss with you stem from the question, "How could our federal government enforce such a law when there are not ample resources to fulfill it?" I am speaking of Interpreters for the deaf. Now that federal law requires agencies and businesses to provide the deaf with Interpreters, I am seeing too many Interpreters taking advantage of this situation by setting their own fees, deciding how they will bill, and charging for travel time and also mileage. Due to the low supply of Interpreters, there is no competition out there and it is becoming aggravating not only to the deaf community, but also those businesses who must pick up the tab. I feel there is a pressing need for the federal government to set this matter straight as it is getting out of hand. There needs to be consistency in this trade because now federal law has enforced the use of Interpreters upon our society. I understand there is a free trade act, enabling those to run their own businesses, but federal law doesn't force someone to hire

a plumber. The trade of Interpreting needs to fall into the governments hands, and not be taken lightly. 01-03519 2 I would like to share with you some incidents that I have experienced in just this past month. Presently, there is a child in our Pulaski County School District who is deaf and requires an Interpreter. He has been deprived of two months of education because the Interpreter that the district has been negotiating with cannot come to terms with her salary. They are offering her $12.50 per hour for a full time job with benefits. She is saying she is worth $20.00 per hour, and I can guarantee you that she is not even currently certified. If the district were to pay her that, she would be making more than the Principal of the school responsible for 1000 students, while she would be responsible for just one child. It makes me furious that this child cannot speak out for himself. The Lexington Center has made some very impressive efforts to accommodate the hearing and visually impaired at the Rupp Arena. I worked with them on getting the recent Reba McEntire concert interpreted. It turned out to be a wonderful experience and we are looking forward to future ones as well. I had highly recommended a nationally certified Interpreter to them which they used, and she did a fine job. However, when the Interpreter billed the Center, I questioned many things which I felt were unfair. After discussing the bill with the General Manager at the Center, he decided it was best to let this time go. I have encouraged them to issue a contract for future shows, where they would be setting the rules as the employer. I am anticipating problems from the Interpreters with this idea, but there must be a way where things will not get out of control. It is my plea that you take a look at what is going on around the ADA law. For most disabilities, the special needs are being installed to meet the requirements and only need to be updated, but with the deaf, Interpreters will always be an ongoing thing. Please set the rules if the law is to be enforced. Also, I would like to make a suggestion about the supply of Interpreters. Since interpreting has become in such demand, why don't we make it a big part of our school's curriculum, encouraging students to go into that field like we do with other professions? Most Interpreters today know someone who is deaf and acquired their skills from them. We need to treat it as a learned profession and offer programs in colleges where degrees can be given.

Thank you for your time on this matter. I have discussed my concerns with the Kentucky Commission for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired in Frankfort, but was told that since the ADA was a federal law, they as a state agency, could not do anything. Coincidentally, the person I spoke with was an Interpreter. I hope you will not consider this matter to be petty, as the deaf community considers it to be of utmost importance. Sincerely, XX Somerset, Kentucky 2