Tags: English | official language | states

States Moving to Adopt English as 'Official Language'

By    |   Monday, 08 Sep 2014 01:22 PM

While bills to make English the official national language languish in Senate and House committees, five more states are moving to adopt legislation to establish English as their states' only official language.

The Washington Post reports that West Virginia, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania all have bills pending in state legislatures that would establish English as their official language, joining 31 other states who have taken that step.

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Meanwhile, California provides election services and government materials in nine languages and has a Spanish-language Department of Motor Vehicles website.

A Rasmussen poll conducted last month discovered that 83 percent of Americans want English adopted nationally, while only 10 percent disagreed.

"I am pleased that an overwhelming majority of Americans continue to recognize the English language as the factor that unites us in our diversity," Mauro E. Mujica, chairman of U.S. English, an advocacy group with over 1.8 million members, said of the poll.

"In this time of partisan politics, it is rare for an issue to receive such wide endorsement. I strongly encourage our nation's leaders to listen to the will of the American people and recognize this common sense policy," Mujica said, according to Marketwired.

However, bills offered last year by Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa and Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma are pending in committees.

King, who previously enacted legislation making English the official language of Iowa, told Fox News, "A common language is the most powerful source of unifying force for any nation. Over the course of history, common languages have created cohesive cultures and have helped prevent division.

"I've introduced the Official English Act every session I've been in Congress because I know that an official language will keep this nation bound together," King told Fox News. "Now we need to get Official English passed into law."

Inhofe wrote on his website, "By declaring English as the official language of the United States, this will obligate the federal government to preserve, protect, and enhance the role of the English language within our government. One of the most important ways for immigrants to achieve success in the United States is by learning English, and this bill will help to encourage that unifying bond as they integrate into our society."

U.S. English expresses concern about the costs of maintaining multilingual government services, although the lack of a requirement for local, state, or federal governments to report how much they spend on such services makes it hard to quantify.

Should these services be offered only in English, spokeswoman Karin Davenport told the Post, it would "add an incentive for people who don't know English to learn the language."

They note that the U.S. Census of 2010 reported that the number of Americans who speak no English is on the increase, jumping from 3.37 million in 2000 to 4.49 million in 2007.

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While bills to make English the official national language languish in Senate and House committees, five more states are moving to adopt legislation to establish English as their states' only official language.
English, official language, states
517
2014-22-08
Monday, 08 Sep 2014 01:22 PM
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