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English Only Goes to Senate

April 22, 1996
By: Claudia Gabarain
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The "English-only" bill got out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday and is on its way to the Senate floor.

Last week a similar Senate bill was defeated by that same committee.

But the committee vote in support of a substitute for the House-passed version was overwhelming - 7 to 1.

The committee removed from the House-passed version several exemptions to the requirement that government documents be in English only - such as exempting instruction in foreign languages.

Rep. Dick Franklin, D-Independence who sponsored the bill in the House, said the committee changes made the bill more viable. "The more clutter we put in there, the more it's misunderstood," he said.

The Senate committee retained one House-passed amendment designed to allow government agencies to use foreign languages in assisting resettlement of refugees and legal immigrants for a period of eight months after their arrival in the U.S.

Sen. Jerry Howard, D-Dexter, proposed the Senate committee substitute. Howard said he expected a long debate when the bill got to the Senate floor.

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