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A House bill would require all official proceedings to be held in English

April 26, 2006
By: Amy Becker
State Capital Bureau

Missouri House representatives were not speaking the same language on a bill that would make English the lone language used in official proceedings.

Amy Becker has more from the state Capitol.

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The bill would require only English to be used in all official proceedings except when American Sign language is needed.

The bill's opponents say they are concerned about the message this bill would send to immigrants in Missouri who can not speak English.

They say it puts unneeded pressure on them to learn another language.

Democrat Representative Jeanette Oxford says everyone must be able to fully participate in American democracy and this bill would thwart that effort.

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Contents: I hope that we will end this debate and live up to the best of our history's values. Keep the torch of the Statue of Liberty burning to welcome all who would come to these shores needing a place to find opportunity, to find a place to practice democracy.

Republican Representative Brian Nieves, the bill's sponsor, says those who can not speak English will be provided with an interpreter.

But with less than three weeks left in the session, bills still in the House usually do not have a chance of passing.

Reporting from Jefferson City, I'm Amy Becker.

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A bill would require all official proceedings to use English as the main language.

Amy Becker has more from Jefferson City.

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The bill would automatically provide those who can not speak English with an interpreter to comply with federal law.

Republican Representative Brian Nieves, the bill's sponsor, says the public has a right to be concerned with what language official proceedings use.

Republican Representative Bob Behnen provided a clear example for the reason behind the bill by asking his questions in German.

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Contents: (German) Gentlemen to make it easier let me go ahead and ask my questions in English. But I think the point is made that there is nothing that requires English be the official language regardless of what tongue I prefer to use, whether it's my mother tongue, whether it's a foreign language, whatever the case may be.

Nieves added that there are currently no rules or regulations that require people to use English in official proceedings.

Reporting from Jefferson City, I'm Amy Becker.