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Board of Sign Language Interpreters: Information and Opportunities

Friday, September 1, 2023

​Administrative Rules

During the 2023 Legislature Session, House Bill 2696 (2023) was enacted, establishing the Board of Sign Language Interpreters (Board) under the Health Licensing Office (HLO). The Board is made up of seven members appointed by the Governor and becomes operative on January 1, 2024. The bill requires the Board to set minimum qualifications for licensure to allow individuals performing sign language interpreter services to obtain licensure as of January 1, 2024.

Since the Board does not become operational until January 1, 2024, they will be unable to establish administrative rules for licensing. However, the HLO has broad rulemaking authority to create a “temporary license," which can be issued to individuals performing sign language interpreter services as of January 1, 2024, until the Board is able to meet. Once the Board members have been appointed and meetings begin in 2024, the Board will be determining minimum qualifications for the following license types, including supervision and profession-specific conduct and standards:

  • Provisional sign language interpreters
  • Sign language interpreters (general)
  • Educational sign language interpreters
  • Legal sign language interpreters
  • Medical sign language interpreters
  • Supervisory sign language interpreters

​Board Membership Opportunities

HLO is seeking applicants to serve on the seven-member Board. Five of the positions require a sign language interpreter license issued by HLO. Each member must be a resident of Oregon and be proficient in American Sign Language (ASL). The board members positions include:

  • Two (2) members who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing and represent an association that promotes and protects the rights of persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.
  • One (1) member of a state organization for sign language interpreters and who qualify to obtain a sign language interpreter license issued by HLO by January 31, 2024.
  • One (1) member who represents a post-secondary sign language interpreter education program and who qualify to obtain a sign language interpreter license issued by HLO by January 31, 2024.
  • Two (2) members who are hearing interpreters certified by or registered with a national organization for sign language interpreters and who qualify to obtain a sign language interpreter license issued by HLO by January 31, 2024.
  • One (1) member who is a deaf interpreter certified by or registered with a national organization and who qualify to obtain a sign language interpreter license issued by HLO by January 31, 2024. 

Licensed board members provide valuable input regarding current industry standards, technical expertise, and a perspective on how policy changes affect the profession. Members providing the advocacy or public perspective give feedback regarding the consumer experience, policy, and decision-making from a consumer's point of view and insight on areas of practice where changes may need to be made. Board members also contribute their education, knowledge, and experience from various backgrounds when considering decisions and recommendations related to the policy, administrative rules, consumer safety, and disciplinary matters of the Sign Language Interpreter profession.

For more information on applying for a Board position, go to https://www.oregon.gov/gov/Pages/board-list.aspx. Once you have opened the link, you will need to scroll down to the “Apply Online" header and follow the bulleted links under the appropriate option, “External – New Applicants" or “Internal – Current Board Members or State Employees"

​Community Engagement Event

The HLO will be holding a Board of Sign Language Interpreters Community Engagement Event in the fall to inform the industry and consumers of what they can expect from the HLO and the Board, as well as obtain input on best practices when meeting with deaf, deaf/blind, and hard of hearing individuals. The event will be held in Salem at HLO and by way of Microsoft Teams videoconference. Stay tuned for more information regarding this important event.

If you would like to attend the Sign Language Interpreters Community Engagement Event or if you are interested in becoming a board member, committee member, or subject matter expert, please complete the Board of Sign Language Interpreters Information Request.

​How to Get the Latest Information Regarding the Board

To receive emails related to the Sign Language Interpreter Board, including board meeting notices and agendas, rulemaking, and other policy decisions, visit:

https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORHA/signup/38181, and follow these steps:

  1. Enter your contact information
  2. Consent to the data privacy policy
  3. Click on “Next"
  4. Select “Board of Sign Language Interpreters"
  5. Click on “Next," and you are finished.

​How to Contact Us

Board membership questions:

Derek Fultz: derek.j.fultz@oha.oregon.gov or (503) 373-1915.

Board meetings, administrative rules, or other policy questions:

Samie Patnode: samie.patnode@oha.oregon.gov (preferred) or (503) 373-1915

Carrie Edwards: carrie.edwards@oha.oregon.gov (preferred) or (503) 373-1902

This blog will be made available in an accessible alternative format upon request. Please contact April Fleming at april.fleming@oha.oregon.gov or by calling (503) 509-5127; or Derek Fultz at derek.j.fultz@oha.oregon.gov or by calling (503) 373-1915. All relay calls are accepted.