Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Arizona ‘English only’ document plan touted

Arizona ‘English only’ document plan touted

The debate over providing government documents only in English is re-emerging at the Arizona Legislature, a controversial topic many thought had been resolved seven years ago with a successful ballot measure.

The House Government Committee on Tuesday passed House Bill 2283, which would forbid state agencies from mailing out certain documents in any language but English. It still needs a vote of the full House before moving on. But critics already warn it could violate the federal Civil Rights Act.

Sponsor Rep. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, who has introduced several anti-illegal-immigration measures this year and in previous years, said this bill is about saving money. He also said it reinforces Proposition 103, passed by voters in 2006 to make English the state’s official language and require that all “official government actions” be conducted in English. Even with its passage, many state documents continue to be printed in Spanish and other languages.

Arizona is among 28 states with laws declaring English their official language.

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