By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A city councilwoman wants to change Philadelphia’s Home Rule Charter so that every agency and department would be required to have a plan for working with residents who don’t speak English well.

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Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez says currently there’s no consistent language access plan across the whole of Philadelphia city government. So accommodations for those who don’t speak English well vary department to department.

“Most offices do not have an outlined, articulated plan,” she says. “I think they’re all working towards goals, and we want to ensure that they’re doing it in a way that is consistent.”

So Quinones Sanchez proposes a charter change to require every corner of government to have a unified plan. Some of this mirrors what has already been established by Mayor Nutter under an executive order. But the councilwoman — the only Latino on City Council — wants language access locked into law, and not subject to the whims of future mayors:

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“We want to make sure that the mayor’s efforts continue and are expanded,” says Quinones Sanchez, “particularly with some of the independently elected office, also ensuring that they have a language access plan.”

Those independently elected offices include the Controller, the District Attorney and the Sheriff. If Council approves her plan, the charter change would then be put to voters as a referendum, perhaps as early as next May’s primary election.

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