From my email inbox comes news that Republican State Rep. Andre Jacque is lining up support for a bill that would make English the official language of the state of Wisconsin. Here’s the text of the email Rep. Jacque sent out to his fellow legislators asking for their support:
TO: All Legislators
From: Representative Jacque
Date: July 18, 2013
RE: Co-Sponsorship of LRB-2041/1: Use of English for governmental written expression, acquiring language proficiency, and use of languages for nongovernmental purposes.
Despite a broad spectrum of viewpoints on U.S. education or immigration policy, there is widespread agreement that English proficiency is critical to societal integration, future success and achieving the American Dream. Opportunities for gainful employment increase dramatically with knowledge of English- it should come as no surprise that the US Census Bureau has reported that immigrants with the lowest English speaking ability had the lowest employment rate, lowest rate of full-time employment, and lowest median earnings. In fact, immigrants with English fluency earn nearly twice the average hourly wage of non-English speakers and about the same as native-born Americans. A 2012 Pew Research Hispanic Center poll found that 87 percent of Hispanics believe Hispanic immigrants need to learn English to succeed in the U.S., and the establishment of English as the official language for government communication enjoys overwhelming public support, as repeatedly demonstrated in public opinion surveys both in Wisconsin and at the national level.
I will be reintroducing legislation similar to 2009 AB 46, authored by former Rep. Marlin Schneider, to recognize English as the official (though not only) language of the State of Wisconsin for government expression. Over thirty other states, including nearby Illinois, Iowa and Indiana, have already established English as their official language. This legislation would not affect the diversity of languages spoken in the home, and provides that another language may be used when appropriate to the circumstances of an individual case, the implementation of a program in a specific instance, or the discharge of a responsibility in a particular situation. In addition, governmental officers and employees may use a language other than English in oral or written communication whenever necessary for any of the following purposes:
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 (20
USC 1400 et seq.).
To use a proper name, term of art, or phrase from a language other than
To comply with the constitution and laws of the United States or the
constitution of this state.
If you are interested in co-sponsoring LRB 2041/1, please contact Representative Jacque’s office at 6-9870
by Thursday, August 1, at 5 p.m.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill provides that the official language of this state is English. Currently, this state has no official language. The bill also provides that, unless otherwise specifically required by law, all written expression by all units of state and local government in this state shall be in the English language, except that such expression may be in another language when appropriate to the circumstances of an individual case, the implementation of a program in a specific instance, or the discharge of a responsibility in a particular situation. The bill also permits governmental officers and employees to use a language other than English in oral or written expression whenever necessary for one or more of eight specified purposes. In addition, the bill precludes any unit of state or local government in this state from prohibiting any person from becoming proficient in any language or restricting the oral or written use of any language for a nongovernmental purpose. Currently, such action is prohibited under the federal and state constitutions, except that a governmental employer may regulate the conduct of employees while the employees are engaged in official responsibilities.
And here’s a PDF of Rep. Jacque’s proposed bill:
Apparently Rep. Jacque has tired of being “focused like a laser” on job creation and has moved on to crazier pursuits.