A new sign language bill has been introduced in Florida after botched interpretations occurred during televised briefings during the 2017 hurricane season in Manatee County
According to the Associated Press, a House panel unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would require officials to include qualified sign language interpreters at televised hurricane briefings.
This comes after a sign language interpreter signed gibberish during a televised briefing in Manatee County, which included a warning about pizza and a big bear. At the time of the incident in September, a certified deaf interpreter told the Bradenton Herald the signing was “horrible and embarrassing.”
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Democratic Rep. Richard Stark said that very incident inspired him to introduce the new bill. Stark said that while he first chuckled at the news accounts of the gibberish signing, it was “anything but funny” for hearing-impaired residents who depend on that information to stay safe in times of crisis.
According to the bill, interpreters would have to be certified by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or the Florida Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.