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Archive for Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Committee adopts proposal on English as official language

February 14, 2007

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— Several Kansas lawmakers on Tuesday said they reached a bipartisan compromise on a divisive subject: making English the official state language.

House Bill 2140 was recommended for approval by the House Committee on Veterans, Military and Homeland Security.

"English is the common language of Kansas, and this bill affirms that by not unnecessarily interfering with state agencies' or localities' essential communications in other languages," Chairman Don Myers, R-Derby, said.

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Candy Ruff of Leavenworth, also supported the bill, saying it was improved since it was first introduced.

"In no way does this bill limit or denigrate the use of any other language by a tribal government or any immigrant who chooses to live and work in Kansas," Ruff said.

The measure designates that English is the official language of Kansas.

Originally, Myers' bill said no governmental entity was required to provide written materials in languages other than English unless it was needed in certain circumstances, such as to protect the public's health or in legal proceedings.

The changed bill keeps that provision but also makes clear that no governmental entity shall be prohibited from publishing records and documents in languages other than English.

The new version also urges the state education department to assist non-native speakers in finding English language classes.

"As a person who can say that English is my second language, this legislation encourages those who are not proficient to become fluent," said Rep. Mario Goico, R-Wichita, and vice chairman of the committee.

But several lawmakers continued to oppose the measure, saying it was unnecessary.

"I don't see the need for it," said Rep. Eber Phelps, D-Hays.

Phelps said there was no evidence that the English language "was under attack" or that similar "Official English" laws in other states increased English proficiency.

He also said most communities with large immigrant populations already were working on assisting them to learn English.

In addition, he said, the committee had more important issues to deal with concerning returning military veterans.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

Comments

ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Immigration Laws

There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools, no

special ballots for elections, all government business will be conducted in our language. Foreigners will NOT have the right to vote no matter how long they are here.

Foreigners will NEVER be able to hold political office.

Foreigners will not be a burden to the taxpayers. No welfare, no

food stamps, no health care, or other government assistance programs.

Foreigners can invest in this country, but it must be an amount

equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage.

If foreigners do come and want to buy land that will be okay, BUT

options will be restricted. You are not allowed waterfront property. That is reserved for citizens naturally born into this country.

Foreigners may not protest; no demonstrations, no waving a foreign

flag, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies, if you do you will be sent home.

If you do come to this country illegally, you will be hunted down

and sent straight to jail.

Harsh, you say?........ .........

The above laws happen to be the immigration laws of " MEXICO " !

terrapin2 7 years, 11 months ago

ASBESTOS, I'm not sure about the rest of what you claim to be Mexican law, but a friend of mine from Minneapolis, MN, who is very much a white, U.S. Citizen, recently purchased about 10 acres of water-front property in Mexico. She showed me pictures of their land and their beach, and it is definitely ocean-front property.

Getting back to the subject of the article. Kansas does not need a law making English the official language. I agree that the Veterans, Military & Homeland Security Committee working on this bill has much more important issues to be dealing with, like taking care of our injured veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

common_cents 7 years, 11 months ago

Marion is correct. My family was allowed to use property in Mexico also by sliding a few dollars by way of certain people. It's also a fact that individual districts are governed differently depending on how corrupt the local officials are. My father had to bribe MANY people in central Mexico to build a house which was larger that the house owned by the highest ranking official of the town. (very small town of 400 people)

Now here's the kicker - my grandfather was born in that town and moved there with my dad. Interesting eh?

In any case, I am against English as an official language. I know many people who only know Mandarin Chinese and really feel they deserve to be heard so we need to accomodate them in all aspects of our community. In addition, there are several families who speak mainly Arabic and are having problems with our language - we should make room for them too.

I've begun studying Mandarin so that I can help with translations in case things are not clear for my friends.

Oh wait... I forgot that I'm completely for making English the official langauge... Please disregard everything I just said... especially since generally, it's only a few select groups who refuse to learn the English language. Most know it better than our own citizens.

Flame on!

Sigmund 7 years, 11 months ago

The National Football League refused to run a recruitment ad for the U.S. Border Patrol in last week's Super Bowl program, saying it was "controversial" because it mentioned duties such as fighting terrorism and stopping drugs and illegal aliens at the border. http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20070213-115739-3816r.htm

Rationalanimal 7 years, 11 months ago

English as the official language is a no-brainer. I know, I know, we are all bigots, homophobs, racists, nazi's, etc, etc, etc, etc, for ensuring order and structure governs our society and government affairs.

preebo 7 years, 11 months ago

...Oh wait. cancel my comment in response to the evolution article. I again am ashamed to mention my state of residence outside statelines. So, we go from acknowledging life transformed and evolved through a series of drastic environmental and circumstantial changes, to now insisting all must speak English. Real forward thinking, Kansas. While we're at it let's make Christianity the official state religion. I mean if you are going to intrude on the First Amendment, you might as well go full bore.

Redzilla 7 years, 11 months ago

It just seems like wasted effort. I doubt this measure will have any real effect on the way foreign languages are used or accomodated, and it just makes us look like jerks. Having lived and worked in a foreign country for two years, I have all the sympathy in the world for people who are struggling to get by in America as non-native speakers.

white_mountain 7 years, 11 months ago

Despite what ivory tower intellectuals believe, it doesn't make you somehow enlightened to be "okay" with illegals refusing to assimilate and learn English.

preebo 7 years, 11 months ago

Why is it that some people always equate this debate with illegal immigration. Let me start off by saying, NOT ALL NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLE ARE MEXICAN. Follow up to that is, NOT ALL MEXICANS ARE HERE ILLEGALLY. And my final comment to those who equate an English-Only mandate to halting the Illegal Immigration debate, this will not stop the thousands crossing the border each day. I repeat, THIS WILL NOT STOP THE THOUSANDS CROSSING THE BORDER EACH DAY.

You know what might work, though. Contacting your "conservative" members in Congress who have not pushed for emplementing current immigration laws because they take their campaign contributions from the agri-business industry and guess who benefits from illegal labor? That's right the Ag industry. They get to pay their illegal employees little in the way of wages, so that they can maximize profit. This is the ultimate in political backscratching. ...but yeah, go ahead and tell the nation that we're taking a stand. A stand for what, you might say. Well, we haven't figured that out yet.

white_mountain 7 years, 11 months ago

ljreader, not sure if you've seen this website or not.. lays out a quick summary of some of the costs:

http://www.immigrationcounters.com

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

No one has to be OK with it, white_mountain-- cause it just aint happening. And that's why this proposed law is so pointless-- except as an expression of xenophobia.

white_mountain 7 years, 11 months ago

preebo, adopting an official language is only one component of a national identity, but you're right in that it certainly won't fix the problem of illegal border crossings. We do need to fix the problem at the source: the employers, and a policy of non-enforcement, that encourages them to come.

white_mountain 7 years, 11 months ago

bozo, you obviously haven't traveled outside of Kansas then. If you do, you'll find large areas of the country where assimilation and speaking English are optional.

It's not xenophobic to insist on following the laws of this country, and to insist on a common language so that we can communicate with each other.

white_mountain 7 years, 11 months ago

Besides, were I to emigrate to a foreign country, I would learn their language. How ridiculous to think that they would somehow be "xenophobic" to have their own official language that they would expect me to speak.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

"bozo, you obviously haven't traveled outside of Kansas then."

You would be wrong, and this Kansas law will have absolutely no effect on them, anyway. But even in areas where Spanish (or any other language) is the predominant language, you'll find hardly anyone who was born in this country that doesn't also speak English.

This is a solution looking for a problem.

preebo 7 years, 11 months ago

White_mountain,

First of all your name seems somewhat dubious especially referring to this debate of nationalism and Eurocentric identity.

I would only argue your approach that to form a national identity there is a need to apply a official language. Particularly, when this country was specificially designed to incorporate people of many nations under one banner. That is where we differ from nations like Saudi Arabia, which has an official language and religion for that matter. When people start beating the nationalism drum and demanding conformity at the expense of individualism I am reminded of Italy under Fascist rule and not to mention Nazi Germany, which impossed an official language, German.

...I, for one, believe that our national identity is found in our diversity. From political, religious, racial, and cultural it is our differences which strengthen our nation.

"To limit our opinions means to limit our vision." -Winston Churchill

ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Bank of Amrica is going to give illegal aliens credit cards that do not require a SSN. The only requirements are to have an address, a 3 month bank account with Bank of America and pay a large fee.

Did Bank of America forget the S & L Scandal? If Bank of America is gong to do this, they had better not come to the US TAxpayer for a bailout for this stupid promotion! These people are already a flight risk for crimes, they will not think twice about running out on an overrun credit card charged up to the hilt.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 11 months ago

"I support the proposal, wholeheartedly."

But what does it accomplish?

RightinLawrence 7 years, 11 months ago

My grandparents both came to the US from other countries. They came here to become Americans and couldn't wait to learn the language, build a life, and prosper.

If those from other countries want to come here and build a life and prosper due to our freedoms and the opportunities available here...LEARN THE LANGUAGE.

I am soon to travel to Europe. I don't know the language of the country to which I am traveling. So, I feel that if I have difficulties understanding, ordering my meals, etc. it is my responsibility, not that of the waiter or store clerk.

In turn, if I were going there to live, I would not expect it is the responsibility of the landlord, the electric company, the water dept., or the government to cater to me if I am unwilling to learn the language.

Ditto for those who come to my country. Why is it so difficult for Americans to understand the concept of personal responsibility?

sweetiepie 7 years, 11 months ago

It doesn't accomplish anything. Any government organization that wants to publish documents in more than one language still can (and will). The GIANT problem of immigrants "refusing to learn English" will continue to not be a problem at all (there is no credible statistical evidence that this is a problem in the U.S.)

And if it is one of those problems that has been continuing as long as there have been immigrants, what happened with all those German and Italian and Polish speakers who came over in previous massive immigrations? Not only would they not have learned English, but they wouldn't have let their children learn English. Or were they somehow so essentially different from the immigrant population now? Talk to a second generation Vietnamese kid or Mexican kid or Irish kid and 99% of the time, that kid sounds like any other kid in the U.S. The difference is that that kid can usually speak two languages.

No matter what the legislature does, the bottom line is that we are a country that assimilates not only people but language. Go into any quik shop in western or southwestern kansas and there will be dual language signs. Doesn't hurt a thing--maybe makes us a little smarter than we used to be.

preebo 7 years, 11 months ago

Agnostick,

I appreciate the fact that you agree with my fiscal-political comment regarding agri-business, but I have to take issue with the statement regarding 1st Amendment rights and English-Only legislation. If you look around you will not find another state, not one, that employees English-Only language requirements. Some have tried but have been overturned. I believe Mississippi attemped in 1999 to enact English-Only in schools only to have it thrown out a year later on a 1st Amenment issue. The name of the case escapes me, but I will research and get back to you. In any event, Kansas again is attempting to levy a dangerous precedent.

Overall, this is a symbolic move on the part of the state legislature. You won't see the U.S. Congress undertake such a lame-duck piece of legislation.

mom_of_three 7 years, 11 months ago

As stated in a previous article, immigrants are learning the language, and most want to learn the language. But it can't be learned overnight!! Documents must still be printed in foreign languages so everyone has a fair representation and view of their rights.
Yes, if I were to move to a foreign country, I would try to learn their language prior to getting there. But it may take longer than I figured, so I would appreciate any help given to me by the city and local government until I figured it out.

Jamesaust 7 years, 11 months ago

"The changed bill keeps [the provision excepting health, safety, and legal affairs] but also makes clear that no governmental entity shall be prohibited from publishing records and documents in languages other than English."

Translation: this bill accomplishes nothing but stigmatizing those who do not speak English (well enough).

Predictable. Actually doing something to increase English proficiency costs money.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

"(there is no credible statistical evidence that this is a problem in the U.S.)"

Yes there is:

"Push one for English, Dos en espainol por favor"

ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

Preebo stated:

"If you look around you will not find another state, not one, that employees English-Only language requirements."

WRONG again. There are 28 states with language laws for English and 22 that do not. Of which almost ALL the 22 states are trying to pass the bill.

http://www.usenglish.org/inc/images/map.gif

preebo 7 years, 11 months ago

Asbestos,

I like how you've tossed up some chart from a English-Only advocacy group. Nice Fox News technique. Faulty and obviously slanted evidence aside, California actually passed legislation that allows schools to teach Spanish speaking students along side English first students.

However, according to your chart here, California passed an English only Bill, hmmm. Interesting, huh?

ASBESTOS 7 years, 11 months ago

NO Prebo, WRONG again, English IS the Official Language in Cali. Sorry buddy. English as Official is NOT English ONLY. Wake up and smell the picante.

preebo 7 years, 11 months ago

So, then what you are saying is that having English as "The Official Language" is a symbolic jesture rather then a method in which to teach Non-English speaking English?

I believe that I made this point earlier. So explain to me what the real benefit is to having English as the "Official" language, since I seem to be getting it wrong?

mick 7 years, 11 months ago

Knee-jerk liberals have taken over the Democratic party and the ultra-greedy have taken over the Republican party. Meanwhile, 72% of Americans want illegals out and neither side will pay any attention to the majority. What can ou do? More Americans know who Beyonca is than who their Representative is, so why should they pay us any mind? More people care about TomKat than care about last year's trade deficit equating to about $10K for a family of four. Most don't care that we have lost our moral standing, credibility and trust in the world. We need to start voting all politicians out until they start paying attention to the will of the people.

staff04 7 years, 11 months ago

Sigmund-

Interesting to note the different reporting styles of the Times and FNC.

http://washingtontimes.com/national/20070213-115739-3816r.htm

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,251999,00.html

I never thought I would say it, but FOX actually mentions the fact that the Border Patrol never replied when asked to make changes to the ad...

The Times would have you believe that they maliciously refused to run the ad because they support illegal immigrants...

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