Code of the District of Columbia

§ 2–1931. Definitions.

For purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Access or participate” means to be informed of, participate in, and benefit from public services, programs, and activities offered by a covered entity at a level equal to English proficient individuals.

(2) “Covered entity” means any District government agency, department, or program that furnishes information or renders services, programs, or activities directly to the public or contracts with other entities, either directly or indirectly, to conduct programs, services, or activities. The term “covered entity” shall not include the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

(3)(A) “Covered entity with major public contact” means a covered entity whose primary responsibility consists of meeting, contracting, and dealing with the public.

(B) Covered entities with major public contact are:

(i) Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration;

(ii) Department of Health;

(iii) Department of Mental Health;

(iv) Department of Human Services;

(v) Department of Employment Services;

(vi) Fire and Emergency Medical Services;

(vii) District of Columbia Housing Authority;

(viii) District of Columbia general ambulatory and emergency care centers;

(ix) Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency;

(x) Metropolitan Police Department;

(xi) District of Columbia Public Schools;

(xii) Department of Motor Vehicles;

(xiii) Department of Housing and Community Development;

(xiv) Department of Public Works;

(xv) Department of Corrections;

(xvi) Department of Aging and Community Living;

(xvii) District of Columbia Public Library;

(xviii) Department of Parks and Recreation;

(xix) Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs;

(xx) Child and Family Services Agency;

(xxi) Office of Human Rights;

(xxii) Office of Personnel;

(xxiii) Office of Planning;

(xxiv) Office of Contracting and Procurement;

(xxv) Office of Tax and Revenue; and

(xxvi) Office of the People’s Counsel.

(xxvii) Not Funded.

(xxviii) Not Funded.

(xxix) Not Funded.

(xxx) Not Funded.

(xxxi) Not Funded.

(xxxii) Not Funded.

(xxxiii) Not Funded.

(xxxiv) Not Funded.

(xxxv) Not Funded.

(xxxvi) Not Funded.

(xxxvii) Not Funded.

(xxxviii) Not Funded.

(xxxix) Not Funded.

(xxxx) Not Funded.

(C) Other covered entities with major public contact may be designated by the Language Access Director through the Mayor, by regulation, after consultation with the D.C. Language Access Coalition in accordance with § 2-1935(b)(6).

(3A) Not Funded.

(4) “Language Access Director” means the official in the Office of Human Rights who, pursuant to § 2-1935, coordinates and supervises the activities of District agencies, departments, and programs undertaken to comply with the provisions of this subchapter.

(5) “Limited or no-English proficiency” means the inability to adequately understand or to express oneself in the spoken or written English language.

(5A) Not Funded.

(6) “Oral language services” means the provision of oral information necessary to enable limited or no-English proficiency residents to access or participate in programs or services offered by a covered entity. The term “oral language services” shall include placement of bilingual staff in public contact positions; the provision of experienced and trained staff interpreters; contracting with telephone interpreter programs; contracting with private interpreter services; and using interpreters made available through community service organizations that are publicly funded for that purpose.

(7) “Vital documents” means applications, notices, complaint forms, legal contracts, and outreach materials published by a covered entity in a tangible format that inform individuals about their rights or eligibility requirements for benefits and participation. The term “vital documents” shall include tax-related educational and outreach materials produced by the Office of Tax and Revenue, but shall not include tax forms and instructions. The term "vital documents" shall include all written materials that the Department of Motor Vehicle makes available to the public relating to obtaining or renewing a license, permit, or identification card under § 50-1401.01, § 50-1401.03, or § 50-1401.05, including application forms, study guides, examinations, and other similar materials. The term "vital documents" shall include written information and notifications sent to parents or guardians pursuant to § 38-825.01a(a)(2), (b)(2)(E)(iii), or (b)(2)(E)(v).

(June 19, 2004, D.C. Law 15-167, § 2, 51 DCR 4688; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-262, § 404, 54 DCR 794; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-187, § 2, 63 DCR 14365; Sept. 23, 2017, D.C. Law 22-21, § 8, 64 DCR 7631; Mar. 29, 2019, D.C. Law 22-276, § 3(b)(1), 66 DCR 1721; Apr. 11, 2019, D.C. Law 22-282, § 2(a), 66 DCR 1606.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-754.11, § 32-131.09, § 44-301.03, and § 50-1401.01.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-262, in par. (3)(B)(ix), substituted “Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency” for “Emergency Management Agency”.


Applicability of D.C. Law 22-282: § 5 of D.C. Law 22-282 provided that the change made to this section by § 2(a) of D.C. Law 22-282 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Section 7019 of D.C. Law 22-168 amendeded section 11 of D.C. Law 22-21 removing the applicability restriction impacting this section. Therefore the amendments made to this section by D.C. Law 22-21 have been implemented.

Applicability of D.C. Law 22-21: § 11 of D.C. Law 22-21 provided that the change made to this section by § 8 of D.C. Law 22-21 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of Authority for Rulemaking under the Language Access Act, see Mayor’s Order 2007-127, May 31, 2007 ( 54 DCR 9065).