Inclusive Language Emergency Situations
The bill requires the division of homeland security and emergency management in the department of public safety (division) to conduct a study of what municipalities, sheriff's offices, counties, fire districts, and local 911 agencies need to be able to provide emergency alerts in a minority language and what local 911 agencies need to provide live interpretation during a 911 call. The division shall present the study to the judiciary committees of the house of representatives and senate, or to any successor committees, during the committees' "SMART Act" hearings held during the 2024 session of the general assembly.
Beginning January 1, 2026, the bill requires an evacuation alert and other public safety alerts sent by a county or municipality to be sent by text via a reverse 911 text. In addition to being in English, the alert must also be in a minority language if:
- The county or municipality has at least 2,000 residents who are 18 years of age or older and who speak English less than very well, as defined by the United States bureau of the census American community survey or comparable census data, and who speak a shared minority language at home; or
- At least 2.5% of residents in the county or municipality who are 18 years of age or older speak English less than very well, as defined by the United States bureau of the census American community survey or comparable census data, and speak a shared minority language at home.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)