State Representative Jacque's bill would make English an official state language, use of English for governmental written expression, acquiring language proficiency, and use of languages for nongovernmental purposes.
By H. Nelson Goodson
August 27, 2013
Madison, WI - On Friday, State Representative Andre Jacque (R-DePere) has introduced AB-340, an English first bill would require local and state governments to provide all of their documents in English. The bill was referred to the Committee on State Affairs for consideration. Jacque's rationale for the bill, it would make immigrants learn English.
The bill also prohibits the state or local governments from restricting residents from learning other languages. The bill has some exceptions that would allow the use of another language;
● To protect the health, safety, or liberty of any citizen
● To teach or study another language
● To protect the rights of a criminal defendant or victim of a crime
● To promote trade, tourism, or commerce
● To facilitate activities relating to the compilation of any census
● To comply with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
● To use a proper name, term of art, or phrase from a language other than English
● To comply with the constitution and laws of the United States or the constitution of this state
The bill was also sponsored by the following Republican State Representatives John Nygren, Mark Born, David Graig, Dean Kaufert, Samantha Kerkman, Stephan Nass, Alvin Ott and Dan Pridemore, including the following co-sponsors state Republican Senators Alberta Darling and Don Pridemore.
Jacque's bill would most likely limit how bilingual elected officials, Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy Romo-West, State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milw.) and Milwaukee 12 District Alderman José Pérez communicate with their large Spanish speaking constituency.
Another similar English first bill in 2009 was introduced by former State Representative Marlin Schneider (D-WI Rapids), but failed when it was never considered by a majority Democrat controlled Assembly.