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Bill before House to make English the official state language

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Posted at 9:40 AM, Dec 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-14 09:40:57-05

Legislation has been introduced by State Rep. Tom Barrett, Potterville, to establish English as the official state language.

Barrett stated that he hopes the bill will encourage people that do not speak English to take up the language.

He also said there are 32 other states that have already made the language official in their state.

“We aren’t prohibiting anyone from speaking other languages,” Barrett said. “We are doing this to encourage people to learn the language of the nation in which they live. It will help them better understand the workings of state and local governments.”

The bill also allows documents, publications, or other services to be offered in multiple languages if restricting the use of English violates federal law or has a negative effect on the health, welfare and safety of Michiganders.

Barrett said an additional benefit will be fewer taxpayer dollars spent for government publications.

“Currently state and local government agencies print documents and other literature in a variety of common languages, and this bill only requires the documents be provided in English,” Barrett said. “If a local government chooses to continue offering documents in a variety of languages, they are not prohibited from doing so.”

The bill also requires any document originally presented in a language other than English to be translated into English.

The bill now goes before the House for consideration.