Utah: State To Post Some Official Web Pages In Spanish

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Sun Jun 18 12:54:27 UTC 2006

>>From the Salt Lake City KUTV.com Jun 17, 2006 10:48 am US/Mountain

State To Post Some Official Web Pages In Spanish

SALT LAKE CITY The states official Web site will resume displaying some
pages in Spanish next week, but only in a few limited circumstances.
Information will be posted in Spanish about driver licenses, health
programs and how to file work or housing discrimination claims. But
information about state libraries and how to pay taxes wont be translated
into Spanish. Gov. Jon Huntsman staff made the announcement Friday, a week
and a half after pulling a Spanish-language Web site to conduct a legal
review triggered by complaints.

The problem with posting documents in Spanish is t hat English became the
states official language in 2000. Our job is to make certain that what our
agencies and departments disseminate is in compliance with the law, said
Mike Mower, Huntsmans spokesman. Utah Interactive, a private contractor,
began rolling out a Web site redesign a few week ago. As part of that
redesign, the firm created www.espanol.utah.gov, which had 10 pages of

Within days, Huntsmans office started receiving complaints from people who
said that providing information in Spanish violated the English-only law.
Mower said Huntsmans office decided to take down the site and review those
legitimate questions, over the objections of critics who claimed the
governor bowed to pressure from anti-immigration activists. Utah's English
as an Official Language law provides several exemptions allowing
government information to be translated into other languages.  Those
include public safety and health, education, court proceedings and
tourism. Huntsman released a policy Friday that takes another look at the
law and Mower promised the governors office would review any further
information before posting it online.

State Democratic Rep. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, applauded the
governors decision, though he would like to see the English-only law
tweaked. Information that is understood in ones native language or the
language they know best is always in the state's and the individual's best
interest so there are no communication problems, Romero said. Mower said
translating tax information is a legitimate question but not one being
posed by Huntsman. We have no intent at this time to seek any change in
this law, he said.


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