A House panel approved a bill today that would require state officials to hire a qualified sign language interpreter at televised hurricane briefings, the Associated Press reports.
The move for more adequate candidates comes after a sign language interpreter signed a big mess of drivel during a televised briefing in Manatee County leading up to Hurricane Irma in September, including warnings against pizza and bears. At one point, the spokeswoman behind the podium says, “I hope everyone will remain calm,” – which the interpreter simply translated to the letter “J,” and nothing more.
It’s estimated that the signer translated about 95 percent of the information provided inaccurately.
Florida Rep. Richard Stark, D-Weston, told the AP that he was inspired to introduce the legislation after witnessing the incident. Stark said he got a bit of a laugh out of the accounts at first, but backtracked by saying it was “anything but funny” for deaf individuals who may have depended on the information being provided that day.