As of 2022 , there are more than 40 language access laws on the books
3 across 40 states and local jurisdictions . The overarching objective of these laws is to improve accessibility of government programs , services and information for those who speak a primary language other than English .
The Language Access Ordinance ( LAO ) is the local law that governs language access rights in the City and County of San Francisco ( the City ). Our City was an early adopter of a language access policy ; first enacted in 2001 as the Equal Access to Services Ordinance , the LAO was amended by the Board of Supervisors in 2009 and 2016 . In 2009 , the Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs ( OCEIA ) became responsible for overseeing implementation and enforcement of the law .
The full text of the LAO , along with additional language access resources , can be viewed online at :
Under the LAO , City departments must provide the same information and quality of services to Limited English Proficient ( LEP ) residents as they provide to residents for whom English is their primary language . The LAO also assigns compliance reporting requirements to Departments . These provisions help OCEIA , policymakers , and the public gain a fuller understanding of how Departments are doing in meeting their obligations under the ordinance .