Kansas House Approves English as Official Language
By an overwhelming 114-7 margin, the Kansas House of Representatives voted to make English the official language of Kansas and to increase funding for English language learning. The measure now goes to the state senate and sets the Sunflower State on the path to become the 29th state to adopt an English policy.
“The legislators in Kansas must be applauded for their responsiveness to the public,” said Mauro E. Mujica, Chairman of U.S. English, Inc. “During last November’s elections, the citizens of Kansas made it clear that they were interested in candidates who would maintain the great tradition of assimilation and unity through a common language. These actions demonstrate that the legislators were serious in their promises to the people.”
As passed, H.B. 2140 would keep state agencies from being required to conduct business and provide documents in languages other than English, while making exceptions to comply with federal law, protect public safety, and maintain Constitutional rights. The bill also provides $500,000 for programs to help adults learn English. A Mason-Dixon poll taken in Oct. 2006 found that 77 percent of likely voters in Kansas support making English the official language, including majorities of all three major political parties.
Kansas is one of 15 states where official English legislation has been introduced in the 2007 session. A federal bill to make English the official language of the United States, H.R. 997, is currently pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. Last session, an official English measure passed the U.S. Senate and received support from more than 160 members of the House.
“H.B. 2140 is a bill that all Kansans should be proud of,” added Mujica. “Making English the official language and increasing English language learning opportunities present the perfect combination to improve the lives of immigrant Kansans. I appreciate the work of the House on this matter and I look forward to swift passage of this bill in the Senate.”