Massachusetts: Governor Healey Signs Executive Order to Improve Language Access Across State Government

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 is aimed at making 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. In addition, Governor Healey 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."

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Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll also commented on the importance of the Executive Order: "One in four Massachusetts residents speak a language other than English – which underscores why this Executive Order is so critical. 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."

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.

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In an effort to make state government more accessible and equitable during Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month, Governor Maura T. Healey signed Executive Order #615 today alongside members of her Latino Advisory Council. The order requires executive department agencies across Massachusetts to develop Language Access Plans in order to make services more accessible for those with limited English proficiency. Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll noted that one in four Massachusetts residents speak a language other than English which emphasizes why this order is so important; it sets people up for success by ensuring they can read information provided by their state government as well as interact with it in a way they understand. The plans must include assessments of agency services for those with limited English proficiency as well as policy changes designed to reduce language access barriers. Spanish and Portuguese versions of the Executive Order are available below for further reference.

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