“As our common American language, English and the ‘melting pot’ process it supports has made the United States the most successful multi-ethnic nation in history,” said state Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore. “Unfortunately, the drive to linguistically Balkanize our nation makes it harder for legal immigrants to assimilate while wasting limited taxpayer dollars.”House Joint Resolution 1042, by Terrill, would send a proposed constitutional amendment to Oklahoma voters that would make English the official language of state government.
More than 30 states have already approved official English laws and so have more than 50 nations around the globe.
Under the provisions of the legislation, private individuals and businesses will still be allowed to use whatever language they choose. Only government activities would be affected.
The bill also contains exemptions for the languages of Oklahoma’s 39 federally recognized Native American tribes and allows the use of both Braille and sign language in government services. The legislation also contains a number of other specific, narrowly tailored exceptions for things like public health and safety, as well as trade, commerce and tourism.
Terrill said the bill will prevent the state from being compelled to provide taxpayer-funded services in any language other than English.
House Joint Resolution 1042 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 66-32 vote today. It now proceeds to the state Senate.