MARYLAND, (WDVM) — National ASL Day is April 15. It is a day to spread awareness and promote inclusion in the deaf and hard of hearing community. One Maryland rep. is working to protect the community from being misinterpreted.

According to a Johns Hopkins study, there are about 1.2 million Marylanders aged 12 years or older who are deaf or hard of hearing, but there are no licensing requirements for sign language interpreters and transliterators in the state.

Advocates say this can limit the deaf and hard of hearing community’s equal access to communication.

Delegate Gabriel Acevero is sponsoring House Bill 535 to promote regulating sign language interpretation systems, and authorizing the State Board of Sign Language Interpreters to set licensing requirements.

The goal is to ensure information is interpreted accurately by giving the deaf and hard of hearing community reliable resources. 

“The sign language interpreters bill is designed to ensure that we are not just protecting consumers but that we have a standard. A standard that allows clear communication that allows for licensure requirements, so that deaf and hard of hearing people are not being misinterpreted,” said Acevero.