County Executive Adam Bello Signs Local Law To Improve Emergency Communication For Deaf And Hard Of Hearing Individuals

July 9th, 2020

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Requires American Sign Language Interpreters at all Monroe County Government Emergency Situation Press Conferences

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today signed Local Law No. 4 of 2020, entitled "American Sign Language Interpreters at all Monroe County government Press Conferences Held During Emergency Situations.” County Executive Bello was joined by deaf and hard of hearing advocates from IGNITE Deaf Advocacy, MCDHub, Partners in Deaf Health and Rochester School for the Deaf to commemorate the approval of this local legislation.

This local law, proposed by local deaf and hard of hearing advocates and individuals, will initiate a process through the Monroe County Department of Public Safety to ensure adequate emergency communication for deaf and hard of hearing individuals by requiring an American Sign Language interpreter at all Monroe County government press conferences held during emergency situations.

"This newly enacted local law is perfect example of how government should respond to the needs of its constituents.  My administration was proud to work with deaf and hard of hearing advocates to propose this legislation that will help bring awareness and safety to these individuals when it is needed most,” said County Executive Adam Bello.

Monroe County has one of the largest per-capita populations of deaf or hard of hearing individuals in the United States. According to the National Association for the Deaf, deaf and hard of hearing individuals frequently experience additional difficulty preparing for and recovering from emergencies and disasters, in part due to the inability to receive potentially life-saving information from government agencies.

"We are deeply appreciative that Adam Bello recognized and supported the need to provide full language access to the Deaf community in Monroe County. Utilizing Deaf and hearing ASL interpreters during emergency press conferences brings ASL users in the Deaf community up to par pertaining to urgent and immediate information in real time, which is overdue,” said Susan Demers-McLetchie, Executive Director of IGNITE.

Local Law No. 4 of 2020 will go into effect immediately following its filing with the New York State Secretary of State's office. A copy of the local law can be found here.