Florida Senate - 2015                                    SB 1122
       By Senator Soto
       14-00250A-15                                          20151122__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to persons who are deaf; creating s.
    3         320.0849, F.S.; authorizing a deaf individual to make
    4         a written request to the Department of Highway Safety
    5         and Motor Vehicles for an identification card and
    6         placard to indicate that the individual is deaf;
    7         requiring the department to issue such a card and
    8         placard under certain circumstances; requiring the
    9         department to design and develop such cards and
   10         placards; requiring the department to develop and
   11         adopt rules; amending s. 901.245, F.S.; requiring a
   12         law enforcement officer to seek an interpreter before
   13         arresting a deaf person for an alleged criminal
   14         violation; providing an exception in the case of an
   15         emergency; prohibiting a family member from being
   16         considered a qualified interpreter under certain
   17         circumstances; creating s. 943.0322, F.S.;
   18         establishing a database of persons who are deaf;
   19         authorizing the Department of Law Enforcement to use
   20         the database before detaining or arresting certain
   21         individuals; requiring the department to create a form
   22         for the submission of information for the database;
   23         creating s. 943.1723, F.S.; requiring the Criminal
   24         Justice Standards and Training Commission to provide
   25         basic skills training for law enforcement officers to
   26         interact with the deaf; requiring a law enforcement
   27         agency to have at least one on-call officer who is
   28         trained in or knows American Sign Language or to
   29         contract on an on-call basis with a professional
   30         interpreter agency; defining the term “law enforcement
   31         agency”; providing an effective date.
   33  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   35         Section 1. Section 320.0849, Florida Statutes, is created
   36  to read:
   37         320.0849 Identification for the deaf.—
   38         (1) An individual who is deaf may submit a written request
   39  to the department for an identification card and placard that
   40  indicate the individual is deaf. The department shall issue the
   41  card and placard to an individual upon submission of sufficient
   42  proof that he or she is deaf, as determined by the department.
   43  The individual who is deaf may present the identification card
   44  to a law enforcement officer at the beginning of any stop, and
   45  may place the placard on the inside of the visor of a motor
   46  vehicle so as to be available to present to a law enforcement
   47  officer, to indicate that the individual is deaf.
   48         (2) The department is responsible for the design and
   49  content of the identification card and placard and shall develop
   50  and adopt rules relating to the eligibility and application for,
   51  and the issuance and control of, the identification card and
   52  placard.
   53         Section 2. Section 901.245, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   54  read:
   55         901.245 Interpreter services for deaf persons.—
   56         (1)In the event that a person who is deaf is arrested and
   57  taken into custody for an alleged violation of a criminal law of
   58  this state, The services of a qualified interpreter must shall
   59  be sought prior to a law enforcement officer arresting or
   60  interrogating a such deaf person who is suspected of a violation
   61  of a criminal law in this state, except as provided in
   62  subsection (2).
   63         (2)In the case of an emergency when public safety is at
   64  risk, a law enforcement officer may arrest a deaf person, but a
   65  qualified interpreter must be provided as soon as possible. If
   66  the services of a qualified interpreter cannot be obtained and
   67  all reasonable efforts have been made to obtain a qualified
   68  interpreter, the arresting officer may interrogate or take a
   69  statement from the deaf such person if the provided such
   70  interrogation and the answers are thereto shall be in writing.
   71  The interrogation and the answers thereto shall be preserved and
   72  turned over to the court if in the event such person is tried
   73  for the alleged offense.
   74         (3) A family member may not be deemed to be a qualified
   75  interpreter under this section if the deaf person objects to his
   76  or her involvement.
   77         Section 3. Section 943.0322, Florida Statutes, is created
   78  to read:
   79         943.0322 Persons who are deaf database.—The department
   80  shall establish a database to collect information that may
   81  assist a law enforcement officer in identifying an individual
   82  who is deaf. The database may be used before an officer attempts
   83  to detain or arrest an individual who is suspected of a
   84  violation of a criminal law in this state. The department must
   85  create a form to collect this information for the database,
   86  which an individual may complete when requesting an
   87  identification card or placard that indicates the individual is
   88  deaf under s. 320.0849.
   89         Section 4. Section 943.1723, Florida Statutes, is created
   90  to read:
   91         943.1723 Basic skills training for dealing with the deaf.—
   92         (1) The commission shall establish standards for the
   93  training of law enforcement officers in dealing with the deaf.
   94         (2) Each law enforcement agency shall:
   95         (a) Maintain at least one officer on call who is trained in
   96  or knows American Sign Language; or
   97         (b) Contract with a professional interpreter agency that
   98  will be on call and available to the law enforcement agency.
   99         (3) As used in this section, the term “law enforcement
  100  agency” means a lawfully established state or local public
  101  agency whose primary responsibility is the prevention and
  102  detection of crime or the enforcement of the penal, traffic, or
  103  highway laws of this state and whose agents and officers are
  104  empowered by law to conduct criminal investigations and to make
  105  arrests.
  106         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.