Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

House passes ‘official English’ bill

Funds will promote adult education for immigrants

February 20, 2007

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— The Kansas House on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a bill making English the official language of Kansas, after the measure was amended to include a possible $500,000 to help fund English classes for adult immigrants.

Melinda Lewis, an immigrant advocate, opposed the original `official language' bill, but said the inclusion of funds to help people learn English would make the legislation better.

"It's more an English promotion bill now instead of an anti-other languages bill," said Lewis, director of public advocacy and research at El Centro Inc. in Kansas City, Kan.

"Without the amendment, it was sending a a rather ugly and meaningless message," she said.

House Bill 2140 was approved 118-2. The House will likely give final approval Wednesday to send the bill to the Senate for consideration.

The proposed $500,000 competitive grant for adult education English classes was placed in the bill by an amendment by state Rep. Sue Storm, D-Overland Park.

But the funds are not guaranteed and will only become a reality in the budget if later approved by the Legislature.

Rep. Don Myers, R-Derby, pushed English as the official state language, saying it would encourage immigrants to learn English and increase their employment opportunities.

"I consider this a workforce building bill, an economic development bill," Myers said.

Although making English the official language, the bill gives local and state agencies the flexibility to print or make available documents in other languages.

Opponents criticized the measure as meaningless, saying that English is already understood to be the common language of the state.

Rep. Thomas "Tim" Owens, R-Overland Park, said the bill was based in anti-immigrant feelings "born out of fear more than anything else" and would send out another "negative message" about Kansas.

Rep. Dale Swenson, R-Wichita, criticized debate over a "nearly empty" bill while more important issues went unresolved, such as expanding health care insurance.

Storm said the bill encouraged immigrants to learn English but provided no help in that direction.

"Let's put our money where our mouth is," Storm said in advocating for the $500,000 English instructional funds.

Storm said at various English language programs in her district there were large waiting lists. If approved, the $500,000 would also draw down $300,000 in federal funds, she said.

Comments

Jamesaust 8 years, 2 months ago

"it's comprehensive and it includes English language funding."

It does not "include" funding. Lying is a sin. (Jesus is so disappointed.) The Legislature said they'd 'think about'.

What a majority wants? Thank Jesus that we live in a republic where nobody cares what the majority of hicks in the sticks wants. (Newsflash: majority = mob rule)

"its comprehensive"

Do you speak English? This is the vaguest bill passed out of the Legislature in many a year. It exempts almost anything (because more would be unconstitutional). It accomplishes nothing but allowing the not-so literate to "show" those brown people whose country this is! Our Constitution GUARANTEES freedom of speech - not just speaking "American."

I happen to think, as noted earlier, that speaking English is vital to success in this country. This bill DOES NOTHING to further that point - but does a lot to further nativist "know nothings."

You may be mesmerized by shiny, sparkly things but most of us are not -- you, you ... anti-Elitist!

Baille 8 years, 2 months ago

Seriously?

A bill that makes English the official language but gives state agencies and localities discretion in whether to print official documents in languages other than English, and that provides $500,000 to teach English to adults but doesn't really provide the money.

What could be a bigger waster of time?

I can't wait to see what they do with the ridiculous spanking bill.

jonas 8 years, 2 months ago

"What could be a bigger waster of time?"

How could this have ever been anything other than a waste of time? The whole issue is a waste of time, caused by people feeling threatened, and latching on to the most inane, but feasible, way possible to appear to be looking for a solution.

newsreader 8 years, 2 months ago

Whats the point in passing the bill making it the state language if they don't regulate documents! Another $500,00 wasted...

jonas 8 years, 2 months ago

Here, let me fix this for you.

"Posted by newsreader (anonymous) on February 20, 2007 at 2:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Whats the point in passing the bill making it the state language! Another $500,000 wasted..."

ASBESTOS 8 years, 2 months ago

118-2 was the vote. It appears as the "elected representatives" when voting for their constitutents concerns apparently the majority is no longer tolerant of illegal aliens, and no longer tolerant of those refusing to learn English.

It is a MAJORITY!

ASBESTOS 8 years, 2 months ago

"Opponents criticized the measure as meaningless, saying that English is already understood to be the common language of the state.

Rep. Thomas "Tim" Owens, R-Overland Park, said the bill was based in anti-immigrant feelings "born out of fear more than anything else" and would send out another "negative message" about Kansas.

Rep. Dale Swenson, R-Wichita, criticized debate over a "nearly empty" bill while more important issues went unresolved, such as expanding health care insurance.

OPPONENTS? The got 100% commentary on BOTH of the Opponents?? The vote was 118-2!

How about hearing from the MAJORITY that SUPPORTED the bill and the KANSANS "will of the People".

Democracy in Action!

jonas 8 years, 2 months ago

"Posted by ASBESTOS (anonymous) on February 20, 2007 at 3:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

118-2 was the vote. It appears as the "elected representatives" when voting for their constitutents concerns apparently the majority is no longer tolerant of illegal aliens, and no longer tolerant of those refusing to learn English."

Is it ironic that this is one of most inscrutible, poorly constructed sentences that I've read today?

(by the way, it's not democracy in action, it's representative republic in action. at least when your justification is the majority in the elected officials. you can say it's democracy when it's a popular vote.)

ASBESTOS 8 years, 2 months ago

"Is it ironic that this is one of most inscrutible, poorly constructed sentences that I've read today?"

Ironic when people in the minority position lose they revert ot personal attacks?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"(by the way, it's not democracy in action, it's representative republic in action. at least when your justification is the majority in the elected officials. you can say it's democracy when it's a popular vote.)"

OK I can play that too. Then the "Non binding Resloution" is not democracy either? Nor is the support or illegal aliens either? The "Democratic party" is not adhering to their "Democratid" principals? I knew it all along.

Ya can't have it both ways!

You lose!

ASBESTOS 8 years, 2 months ago

How about that MAJORITY ther JOnas? Not the will of the people, in your loser mind?

ASBESTOS 8 years, 2 months ago

OH! That's right, when the dems took back control of the US Senate and HOuse, it was "Will of the people". However when the Kansas House passes this legislation with a 118-2 vote, it is NOT them the will of the people? You spin like a freakin top!

Jamesaust 8 years, 2 months ago

I applaud the House for appropriating $500k to fund English classes. Obviously, that was the last minute change that allowed the consensus to pass the bill and transform this action from merely punitive into something perhaps worthwhile.

English fluency is a significant social, economic, health, and political skill that benefits the immigrants and the general population. Besides, its not as if these immigrants aren't staying here permanently.

Porter 8 years, 2 months ago

ASBESTOS, you really should stop.

Blabbering on about an English-only bill should require that you at least try to use the language.

It will be interesting to hear the pundits speak about this action. Most likely the talk-radio blowhards will claim this as a victory - even though it's going to help immigrants in the end (English classes funded by slots or dog racing or turnpike tolls?).

ASBESTOS 8 years, 2 months ago

Blather on losers. Go ahead and personally attack me. That is your only argument. You may have better lit. skills than I do, however, you analytical skills and comprehension are non-existent!

white_mountain 8 years, 2 months ago

This is good news. As a society, we should be sanctioning anything that encourages fluency in English. English language courses are the other important component of this goal.

Baille 8 years, 2 months ago

Anyone wanna bet a beer that the legislature will actually fund this program?

Jamesaust 8 years, 2 months ago

Baille, Baille, Baille -- this bill was never about DOING anything but rather posturing for the hick voters.

white_mountain 8 years, 2 months ago

Jamesaust, this bill represents what the majority of Kansans want to see happen. it's comprehensive and it includes English language funding.

Take your elitism and can it. No one wants to hear it.

Baille 8 years, 2 months ago

It is discretionary for the bureaucrats and the funding is merely a whispered promise. I doubt the majority of Kansans appreciate the legislature wasting time on toothless, unfunded posturing, but maybe I am wrong.

Maybe next week they will issue strong words of reprimand in the general direction of the meat processing plants that actively court illegal labor and follow thier stern language with a promise to think about giving money to some unspecified law enforcement agency.

jonas 8 years, 2 months ago

asbestos: I'd like you to tell me where the idea that I'm a democrat comes from. Find one instance, anywhere in my long list of postings on this forum, where I claim to either be or support the democratic party.

Oh, right. You can't can you? Because it doesn't exist.

It's not a personal attack to observe that you write poorly, either. Just a statement.

Yes, all those silly examples you put up were also examples of representative republic in action, except, of course, for the dems winning back the house last november. That was, in fact, democracy in action.

I can, very slowly, explain the difference between the votes of our elected officials IE representative republic, and the votes of the people in a popular election IE democracy.

When. . . the. . . people. . . vote. . . they. . . are. . . democratically. . . electing. . . the. . . officials. . . that. . . will. . . represent. . . them. . .until. . . the. . . next. . . election.

jonas 8 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and I should add: If you believe this vote represents a win or loss, an end to the situation, or any form of closure and completeness, then you are displaying the clear lack of foresight, understanding, and completeness of thought that I've come to expect from you.

jonas 8 years, 2 months ago

Profound silence? For what? Too much straw to choke down all at once?

ASBESTOS 8 years, 2 months ago

"(Newsflash: majority = mob rule)"

Newsflash the Dems are in a "Majority" in the senate. If I can recognise that as "representative government" it is not "MOB RULE". YOU sir are a simpleton.

"Profound silence? For what? Too much straw to choke down all at once?"

NO Jonas, there were people whom were not like you that could fathom the impact of illegal immigration. It sounded like facts were spoken and the crown "got it" and were uncomfortable about what the revelation of fact meant.

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