senate Bill S5733

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Requires state agencies that directly serve the public to enact policies to ensure that people who do not speak English well receive interpretation services

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to investigations and government operations
Jun 14, 2011 referred to rules

S5733 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7948
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Executive Law
Laws Affected:
Ren §301 to be §302, add §301, Exec L

S5733 - Bill Texts

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Requires state agencies that directly serve the public to enact policies to ensure that people who do not speak English well receive the interpretation and translation services they need in order to access vital government programs.

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BILL NUMBER:S5733

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the executive law, in relation to requiring state
agencies that directly serve
the public to enact policies to ensure that people who do not speak
English well receive the
interpretation and translation services they need in order to access
vital government programs

PURPOSE:
An act to amend the executive law, in relation to requiring state
agencies that directly serve the public to enact policies to ensure
that people who do not speak English will receive the interpretation
and translation services they need in order to access vital
government programs. This bill also requires the designation of a
statewide language access coordinator.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 301 of the executive law is renumbered section 302 and a new
section 301 adds a new subdivision to require government agencies,
departments, or programs to provide competent interpretation in every
non-English language to the limited English proficient population.
Section 371-D requires each state agency to establish a language
access plan in consultation with the executive director of the office
of language access and the state agency's coordinator for language
access.

JUSTIFICATION:
To effectively provide competent interpretation and information to an
individual who does not understand English, there must be a mechanism
for those Limited English proficient individuals to get
interpretation or translation in order to access vital services that
should be provided. It is critical that translating or interpreting
English to each non-English language is available so that each
individual can access all information.

This mechanism will be available in each government agency, department
or program.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
90th day after it shall become law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  5733

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              June 14, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  RIVERA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules

AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to requiring state  agen-
  cies  that  directly serve the public to enact policies to ensure that
  people who do not speak English well receive  the  interpretation  and
  translation  services  they  need  in order to access vital government
  programs

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1. Section 301 of the executive law is renumbered section 302
and a new section 301 is added to read as follows:
  S 301. AGENCY LANGUAGE INTERPRETATION. 1. DEFINITIONS.    AS  USED  IN
THIS SECTION: (A) "AGENCY COVERED LANGUAGE" SHALL MEAN EVERY NON-ENGLISH
LANGUAGE  USED  BY  A LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT POPULATION THAT CONSTI-
TUTES FIVE PERCENT OR ONE THOUSAND INDIVIDUALS, WHICHEVER  IS  LESS,  OF
THE POPULATION SERVED OR ENCOUNTERED, OR LIKELY TO BE SERVED OR ENCOUNT-
ERED, BY THE AGENCY.
  (B)  "AGENCY"  SHALL MEAN ANY STATEWIDE 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  ACTIV-
ITIES,  AND ALL POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND LOCAL ENTITIES OF SUCH STATE-
WIDE GOVERNMENT AGENCY, DEPARTMENT, OR PROGRAM.  AGENCIES  INCLUDE,  BUT
ARE  NOT  LIMITED TO: THE OFFICE FOR THE AGING; THE OFFICE OF ALCOHOLISM
AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES; THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL; THE OFFICE
OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES; THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF  NEW  YORK;  THE
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND COMMUNITY SUPERVISION; THE OFFICE OF COURT
ADMINISTRATION;  THE  DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES; THE DEPART-
MENT OF EDUCATION; THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS; DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY  ASSIST-
ANCE;  THE  DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH; THE DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY
RENEWAL; THE DIVISION OF  HUMAN  RIGHTS;  THE  DEPARTMENT  OF  FINANCIAL

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD10706-02-1

S. 5733                             2

SERVICES;  THE  DEPARTMENT  OF  LABOR;  THE  METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION
AUTHORITY; THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES; THE OFFICE OF PARKS, RECRE-
ATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION; THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND  NEW
JERSEY;  OFFICE  FOR  THE  PREVENTION  OF  DOMESTIC  VIOLENCE; OFFICE OF
PROBATION AND CORRECTIONAL ALTERNATIVES; THE DIVISION OF  STATE  POLICE;
THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK; THE OFFICE OF TEMPORARY AND DISABILITY
ASSISTANCE; AND THE DIVISION OF VETERAN'S AFFAIRS.
  (C)  "COMPETENT  INTERPRETATION" SHALL MEAN A TRANS-LANGUAGE RENDITION
OF A SPOKEN MESSAGE IN WHICH  THE  INTERPRETER  COMPREHENDS  THE  SOURCE
LANGUAGE  AND CAN SPEAK COMPREHENSIVELY IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE TO CONVEY
THE MEANING INTENDED IN THE SOURCE LANGUAGE. THE INTERPRETER KNOWS RELE-
VANT TERMINOLOGY  AND  PROVIDES  ACCURATE  INTERPRETATIONS  BY  CHOOSING
EQUIVALENT  EXPRESSIONS THAT CONVEY THE BEST MATCHING AND MEANING TO THE
SOURCE LANGUAGE AND CAPTURES,  TO  THE  GREATEST  POSSIBLE  EXTENT,  ALL
NUANCES INTENDED IN THE SOURCE MESSAGE.
  (D) "COMPETENT TRANSLATION" SHALL MEAN A TRANS-LANGUAGE RENDITION OF A
WRITTEN  MESSAGE IN WHICH THE TRANSLATOR COMPREHENDS THE SOURCE LANGUAGE
AND CAN WRITE COMPREHENSIVELY IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE TO CONVEY THE MEAN-
ING INTENDED IN THE  SOURCE  LANGUAGE.  THE  TRANSLATOR  KNOWS  RELEVANT
TERMINOLOGY  AND  PROVIDES  ACCURATE TRANSLATIONS BY CHOOSING EQUIVALENT
EXPRESSIONS THAT CONVEY THE BEST MATCHING  AND  MEANING  TO  THE  SOURCE
LANGUAGE  AND  CAPTURES,  TO  THE  GREATEST POSSIBLE EXTENT, ALL NUANCES
INTENDED IN THE SOURCE MESSAGE.  COMPETENT TRANSLATION SHALL NOT INCLUDE
ONLINE TRANSLATION TOOLS SUCH AS GOOGLE TRANSLATE,  YAHOO!  BABEL  FISH,
AND COMPARABLE SERVICES.
  (E) "LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE SERVICES" SHALL MEAN COMPETENT INTERPRETATION
AND TRANSLATION SERVICES.
  (F)  "LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT INDIVIDUAL" OR "LEP INDIVIDUAL" SHALL
MEAN AN INDIVIDUAL WHO DOES NOT READ, WRITE,  SPEAK,  AND/OR  UNDERSTAND
THE  ENGLISH  LANGUAGE AT A LEVEL THAT PERMITS HIM OR HER TO COMMUNICATE
EFFECTIVELY WITH THE AGENCY.
  (G) "PRIMARY LANGUAGE" SHALL MEAN THE  LANGUAGE  IN  WHICH  A  LIMITED
ENGLISH PROFICIENT INDIVIDUAL PREFERS TO COMMUNICATE.
  (H)  "VITAL  DOCUMENTS"  SHALL  MEAN PRINTED AND ONLINE DOCUMENTS THAT
PROVIDE INFORMATION NECESSARY TO  ACCESS  OR  PARTICIPATE  IN  SERVICES,
PROGRAMS,  AND  ACTIVITIES  OF  AN  AGENCY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO
APPLICATIONS, CORRESPONDING INSTRUCTIONAL  MATERIALS,  LEGAL  CONTRACTS,
STIPULATIONS,  OUTREACH  MATERIALS,  AND WRITTEN NOTICES OR LETTERS THAT
AFFECT OR RELATE TO THE LEGAL RIGHTS OR BENEFITS OF AN INDIVIDUAL OR THE
AGENCY'S SERVICES, PROGRAMS OR BENEFITS AND WHICH ARE USED  OR  INTENDED
TO BE USED FOR COMMUNICATING WITH INDIVIDUALS OR THE PUBLIC.
  2.  INTERPRETATION  SERVICES. (A) EVERY AGENCY SHALL PROVIDE COMPETENT
INTERPRETATION AT ALL STAGES OF THE LEP  INDIVIDUAL'S  INTERACTION  WITH
THE  AGENCY  AND AT NO COST TO THE LEP INDIVIDUAL. SUCH COMPETENT INTER-
PRETATION MUST BE PROVIDED PROMPTLY BUT NEED NOT BE PROVIDED  IN  PERSON
OR FACE-TO-FACE IN ORDER TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SECTION.
  (B)  MINOR CHILDREN SHALL NOT BE USED TO INTERPRET AT ANY TIME, EXCEPT
IN AN EXTREME EMERGENCY. IF MINOR CHILDREN  ARE  USED  TO  INTERPRET,  A
RECORD  SHALL  BE KEPT OF THE INCIDENT IN THE INDIVIDUAL'S CASE FILE, IF
ONE EXISTS.
  (C) THE AGENCY IS PROHIBITED FROM REQUIRING  THAT  AN  LEP  INDIVIDUAL
PROVIDE HIS OR HER OWN INTERPRETATION SERVICES.
  (D)  USE  OF  UNTRAINED OR INFORMAL INTERPRETERS SUCH AS THE FAMILY OR
FRIENDS OF AN LEP INDIVIDUAL SHALL BE ACTIVELY DISCOURAGED.  IF  AN  LEP
INDIVIDUAL  CHOOSES  TO USE AN INFORMAL INTERPRETER AFTER BEING NOTIFIED
OF THE AVAILABILITY OF FREE, TIMELY AND COMPETENT INTERPRETATION, HE  OR

S. 5733                             3

SHE MUST COMPLETE A WAIVER THAT IS SIGNED BY A MANAGER AT THE AGENCY AND
BY THE LEP INDIVIDUAL.
  3.  LANGUAGE  ACCESS  PLAN.  (A) EACH AGENCY SHALL PUBLISH, AND UPDATE
EVERY TWO YEARS, WITH THE FIRST PLAN BEING DEVELOPED WITHIN ONE  HUNDRED
EIGHTY  DAYS  OF  THE  EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION, A LANGUAGE ACCESS
PLAN THAT WILL REFLECT HOW THE AGENCY WILL COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF
THIS SECTION AND ALL PROGRESS MADE SINCE THE  AGENCY  LAST  SUBMITTED  A
LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN.
  (B)  EACH  LANGUAGE  ACCESS PLAN SHALL BE WRITTEN IN CONSULTATION WITH
THE STATE CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER, THE STATEWIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS  DIREC-
TOR,  THE  AGENCY'S LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR, THE LOCAL SUBDIVISIONS'
LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATORS, AND THE DIRECTORS THAT CONDUCT OUTREACH TO
LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT POPULATIONS.
  (C) EACH LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN SHALL SET FORTH, AT MINIMUM, THE FOLLOW-
ING:
  (1) WHEN AND BY WHAT MEANS THE AGENCY WILL PROVIDE LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE
SERVICES AND AN EXPLANATION AS TO HOW THIS DETERMINATION WAS REACHED;
  (2) THE TITLES OF ALL AVAILABLE TRANSLATED DOCUMENTS  AND  THE  CORRE-
SPONDING LANGUAGES INTO WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN TRANSLATED;
  (3)  THE  NUMBER  OF  PUBLIC  CONTACT  POSITIONS IN THE AGENCY AND THE
NUMBER OF BILINGUAL EMPLOYEES IN PUBLIC CONTACT POSITIONS, INCLUDING THE
LANGUAGES THEY SPEAK;
  (4) DOCUMENTATION OF THE LANGUAGE NEEDS OF THE POPULATION  SERVED  AND
THE POPULATION ELIGIBLE TO BE SERVED BY THE AGENCY;
  (5)  FOR AGENCIES THAT PROVIDE INDIVIDUALIZED PROGRAMS AND SERVICES, A
SYSTEM FOR TRACKING THE PRIMARY LANGUAGE OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL  WHO  SEEKS
OR RECEIVES SERVICES FROM THE AGENCY;
  (6)  A  TRAINING PLAN FOR AGENCY EMPLOYEES WHICH INCLUDES, AT MINIMUM,
ANNUAL TRAINING ON THE LANGUAGE ACCESS POLICIES OF THE AGENCY AND HOW TO
PROVIDE LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE SERVICES;
  (7) A LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR AT THE AGENCY, WHO SHALL BE PUBLICLY
IDENTIFIED;
  (8) IF OUTREACH IS CONDUCTED BY THE AGENCY, A  MULTI-LINGUAL  OUTREACH
PLAN  TO  LEP COMMUNITIES REGARDING THE BENEFITS AND SERVICES OFFERED BY
THE AGENCY AND THE LANGUAGE SERVICES PROVIDED;
  (9) A DESCRIPTION OF THE FUNDING AND BUDGETARY SOURCES UPON WHICH  THE
AGENCY INTENDS TO RELY TO IMPLEMENT ITS LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN;
  (10)  A  DETAILED  PLAN FOR ANNUAL INTERNAL MONITORING OF THE AGENCY'S
COMPLIANCE WITH THIS ORDER; AND
  (11) AN EXPLANATION OF ANY AREAS OF CURRENT NON-COMPLIANCE,  INCLUDING
COMPLAINTS  RECEIVED  AND THEIR DISPOSITION, THE REASONS FOR NON-COMPLI-
ANCE AND STEPS TO BE TAKEN TO REMEDY  AREAS  OF  NON-COMPLIANCE,  AND  A
REQUEST  FOR  APPROVAL  OF  EXPECTED FUTURE NON-COMPLIANCE, TO WHICH THE
STATEWIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS DIRECTOR SHALL RESPOND WITHIN  SIXTY  DAYS  OF
THE REQUEST.
  (D) AT A MINIMUM EACH AGENCY SHALL MAINTAIN RECORDS OF ALL INFORMATION
NECESSARY  TO  COMPLETE  AND  VERIFY  THE  INFORMATION  SET FORTH IN THE
LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN.
  4. AGENCY'S LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR. EACH AGENCY SHALL DESIGNATE A
LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR, WHO SHALL REPORT DIRECTLY TO  THE  DIRECTOR
OF  THE  AGENCY.    THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE AGENCY'S LANGUAGE ACCESS
COORDINATOR SHALL INCLUDE:
  (A) GENERAL OVERSIGHT OF THE AGENCY'S LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN;
  (B) FOR STATEWIDE AGENCIES, OVERSIGHT, CENTRAL COORDINATION, AND TECH-
NICAL ASSISTANCE TO THE AGENCY'S POLITICAL SUBDIVISION AND  LOCAL  ENTI-
TIES IN THEIR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION;

S. 5733                             4

  (C) ENSURING THAT THE PROVISION OF LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE SERVICES BY THE
AGENCY MEETS ACCEPTABLE STANDARDS OF TRANSLATION OR INTERPRETATION;
  (D)  PROCUREMENT  OF  CONTRACT LANGUAGE SERVICES WHERE APPROPRIATE AND
MANAGEMENT OF THE RELATIONSHIP WITH ALL LANGUAGE SERVICE CONTRACTORS;
  (E) TRACKING, MONITORING AND INVESTIGATING PUBLIC COMPLAINTS REGARDING
LANGUAGE ACCESS SERVICES AT THE AGENCY;
  (F) OVERSEEING STAFF TRAINING ON THE LANGUAGE  ACCESS  PLAN,  LANGUAGE
POLICY, AND HOW TO OBTAIN LANGUAGE SERVICES FOR LEP INDIVIDUALS;
  (G)  ENSURING  THAT  RECORDKEEPING AND MONITORING REQUIREMENTS OF THIS
SECTION ARE COMPLIED WITH;
  (H) COMPILING, MAINTAINING, AND DISSEMINATING ALL TRANSLATED DOCUMENTS
TO BE USED BY OTHER AGENCY ENTITIES, INCLUDING  ALL  LOCAL  OFFICES  AND
POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS; AND
  (I)  OVERSEEING AND COORDINATING THE AGENCY'S ANNUAL INTERNAL MONITOR-
ING, TESTING AND TRAINING ACTIVITIES.
  5. MONITORING AND COMPLAINTS. (A) THE AGENCY  SHALL  MONITOR  ITS  OWN
COMPLIANCE  WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SECTION BY ANNUALLY COLLECTING
DATA ON THE PROVISION OF LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE SERVICES, THE  AVAILABILITY
OF  TRANSLATED  MATERIALS,  WHETHER  SIGNAGE IS PROPERLY POSTED, AND ANY
OTHER RELEVANT MEASURES. THIS INFORMATION AND ANY OTHER COLLECTED DURING
THE INTERNAL MONITORING PROCESS SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE STATEWIDE
LANGUAGE ACCESS DIRECTOR. THE MONITORING  PLAN  SHALL  INCLUDE  FEEDBACK
FROM THE PUBLIC, COMMUNITY GROUPS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS.
  (B)  THE  AGENCY  SHALL ESTABLISH A SYSTEM WHEREBY LEP INDIVIDUALS MAY
SUBMIT COMPLAINTS TO  THE  AGENCY  REGARDING  LANGUAGE  ACCESS  SERVICES
PROVISION OR LACK THEREOF, AND ALL SUCH COMPLAINTS SHALL BE INVESTIGATED
BY THE AGENCY LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR AND/OR SUCH INDIVIDUALS WITHIN
THE AGENCY AS THE LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATOR SHALL DETERMINE. THE AGEN-
CY  MUST  PROVIDE  ALL  LEP  INDIVIDUALS  SUBMITTING  COMPLAINTS WRITTEN
NOTIFICATION OF THE RESULTS OF ANY INVESTIGATIONS  RESULTING  FROM  SUCH
COMPLAINTS, INCLUDING A DESCRIPTION OF THE CORRECTIVE ACTION TO BE TAKEN
IN RESPONSE TO THE COMPLAINT, IF SUCH CORRECTIVE ACTION IS REQUIRED.
  6.  GOOD  CAUSE. IT SHALL BE GOOD CAUSE FOR AN INDIVIDUAL'S FAILURE TO
RESPOND TO AN AGENCY INQUIRY  OR  REQUIREMENT,  FAILURE  TO  CERTIFY  OR
RE-CERTIFY FOR BENEFITS, FAILURE TO ATTEND MANDATORY APPOINTMENTS OR FOR
AN  UNTIMELY RESPONSE, IF THE LEP INDIVIDUAL IS DENIED LANGUAGE SERVICES
AS REQUIRED UNDER THIS SECTION.
  7. STATEWIDE OVERSIGHT, COORDINATION AND ASSISTANCE. (A) THE  DIRECTOR
OF  STATE  OPERATIONS  SHALL PROVIDE OVERSIGHT, CENTRAL COORDINATION AND
TECHNICAL  ASSISTANCE  TO  AGENCIES  IN  THEIR  IMPLEMENTATION  OF   THE
PROVISIONS  OF  THIS  ORDER AND ENSURE THAT THE PROVISION OF SERVICES BY
AGENCIES MEETS ACCEPTABLE STANDARDS OF TRANSLATION OR INTERPRETATION.
  (B) THERE SHALL BE A STATEWIDE LANGUAGE  ACCESS  DIRECTOR  WITHIN  THE
OFFICE  OF  THE  DIRECTOR OF STATE OPERATIONS, WHO IS CHARGED WITH OVER-
SIGHT WITH ALL AGENCIES' COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION.
THE STATEWIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS DIRECTOR SHALL:
  (1) REVIEW AND MONITOR EACH AGENCY'S LANGUAGE ACCESS PLAN FOR  COMPLI-
ANCE WITH THIS SECTION AND TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964;
  (2)  TRACK  AND  MONITOR  PUBLIC  COMPLAINTS REGARDING LANGUAGE ACCESS
VIOLATIONS AT EACH AGENCY AND, WHERE NECESSARY, ISSUE  WRITTEN  FINDINGS
OF  NONCOMPLIANCE  TO  THE AGENCY REGARDING FAILURES TO PROVIDE LANGUAGE
ACCESS;
  (3) REVIEW AND MONITOR THE LANGUAGE ACCESS COORDINATORS  WITH  RESPECT
TO THEIR PERFORMANCE OF RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THIS SECTION; AND
  (4) FACILITATE SHARING OF BEST PRACTICES AND INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION
TO IMPROVE COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION.

S. 5733                             5

  (C)  EVERY  AGENCY  SHALL COOPERATE WITH THE STATEWIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS
DIRECTOR AND SHALL FURNISH SUCH INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE AS THE STATE-
WIDE LANGUAGE ACCESS DIRECTOR  DETERMINES  IS  REASONABLY  NECESSARY  TO
FULFILL THESE DUTIES.
  8.  PRIVATE  RIGHT  OF  ACTION;  COMPLAINTS.  INDIVIDUALS SHALL HAVE A
PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION TO ENFORCE THE RIGHTS GRANTED UNDER THIS SECTION
AS SET FORTH UNDER SUBDIVISIONS ONE THROUGH SIX OF THIS SECTION.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
have become a law.

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