BOSTON – Today, Governor Maura T. Healey, joined by members of the Latino Advisory Council, signed Executive Order #615 to increase language access across state government.
The Executive Order aims to make the delivery of services and resources more accessible and equitable for residents with limited English proficiency by requiring executive department agencies to develop Language Access Plans. Governor Healey also issued a proclamation declaring Hispanic Heritage Month in Massachusetts from September 15th to October 15th.
“Everyone in Massachusetts, regardless of what language they speak, deserves equitable access to government services and resources, but we recognize that language often poses a major barrier,” said Governor Healey. “This Executive Order will help break down language barriers and bridge gaps by instructing state agencies to conduct a thorough assessment of their language access capabilities and develop a plan for improvement. We’re proud to take this important step toward making state government more accessible and equitable during Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month alongside members of the Governor’s Latino Advisory Council.”
“One in four Massachusetts residents speak a language other than English – which underscores why this Executive Order is so critical,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “It is essential that we are setting people up for success by ensuring that they are able to read and engage with information provided by their state government. This Executive Order will help us work to ensure that all residents have the chance to get their questions answered and interact with their government in a way they understand. I am excited to see the implementation of strong language access plans across our state agencies and all the benefits this will bring to our state.”
The Executive Order directs executive department agencies to identify a Language Access Coordinator and develop a Language Access Plan. These plans should include assessments of the agency’s services for residents with limited English proficiency, the languages spoken by the people they serve, their current policies and practices regarding translations, and the capacity of their staff to deliver services in other languages other than English. The plans will also include specific actions and policy changes to reduce language access barriers.