US: Idaho Makes English Official

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Mar 30 14:13:50 UTC 2007

Idaho Makes English Official

     State is 29th to adopt unifying language policy for all residents

    WASHINGTON, March 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Idaho Governor C.L.
"Butch" Otter signed S. 1172 into law Wednesday, making Idaho the 29th
state to adopt English as its official language. Sponsored by Sen. Mel
Richardson, the bill makes English the official language of the state
government with common sense exceptions for areas such as health care and
judicial proceedings. The measure previously passed the Idaho House of
Representatives on March 19 and the Idaho Senate on March 7.

    "I want to thank Gov. Otter and Sen. Richardson for their efforts to
promote the language that unites all Idahoans," said Mauro E. Mujica,
Chairman of U.S. English, Inc. "Idaho, like our nation, is made up of
immigrants who have united behind our common flag and our common language.
Making English the official language of Idaho continues that proud
tradition and promotes the continuation of the American dream."

    Under the law, all state meetings, publications and transactions are
to be done in English. Numerous exceptions are made to comply with federal
law, including communications to promote public health and safety, protect
the rights of criminal defendants, and encourage tourism within Idaho.
Educational efforts and the teaching of foreign languages are specifically
encouraged by the law, which calls upon the state to initiate, continue
and expand programs in English as a second language.

    Idaho is now the 29th state to enact English as its official language,
following Arizona where English was adopted as the official language by
popular vote in Nov. 2006. Efforts to enact official English legislation
are currently pending in 13 states without existing laws: Connecticut,
Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma,
Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.

    "Across, the nation, Americans are realizing that while personal
multilingualism is beneficial, government multilingualism keeps society
divided socially and economically," continued Mujica. "The Idaho
government has taken the important step of removing the linguistic crutch
that keeps immigrants lagging behind. I look forward to seeing other
states follow Idaho's lead."


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