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Jan-17-2007 11:25printcomments

Oregon Lawmaker Introduces Bill That Would Make English Oregon’s Official Language

Twenty-eight other states have passed similar legislation.

Oregon Representative Donna Nelson
Donna Nelson is a Republican State representative from McMinnville

(SALEM) - Oregon State Representative Donna Nelson (R-McMinnville) introduced HB 2459 Wednesday on the House floor, that would make English the official language of Oregon.

According to the most recent U.S. Census report, there are 138 different languages spoken in the state.

If passed, state, city, and county governments would not be required to provide services or information, such as voter pamphlets, in any other language other than English.

State Representative Sal Esquivel (R-Medford) who is Hispanic, says he is backing the bill.

“Oregon should follow the lead of such other progressive states as California and Massachusetts that have enacted similar laws,” Representative Nelson said.

Jim Ludwick, the Director of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, agrees.

“America is the greatest and most successful experiment regarding the integration and assimilation of people of differing cultures, languages and religions,” said Ludwick.

Critics of the plan disagree, citing the lack of opportunities for people in the mid-valley to learn English. Waiting lists for adult ESL (English as a Second Language) classes at Chemeketa College in Salem can take from six months to a year. The less English a person knows, the longer they have to wait.

The current federal government has also reduced funding for ESL, and that means fewer dollars in Oregon are available to teach English. Some educators say it all amounts to an attempt to increase ignorance.

The bill will next be assigned to a committee for consideration.

If the Chairperson approves the bill to go on, it will be set for a public hearing.

Other states that have passed similar bills include Arizona, California, and Massachusetts.

Nelson says she believes that if the bill passes the house, it faces an uncertain future in the senate.




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Bruno Stachel February 8, 2007 11:35 am (Pacific time)

I have a brother who has lived in France for 15 years and he speaks 5 languages. He has too. He travels to several countries on business and they require you to speak their language. No free rides over there. Thank you Rep. Nelson, job well done.


Terry W. Bielss February 1, 2007 2:23 pm (Pacific time)

I think this bill would be just the first step. Second Step we need to eliminate translaters who are paid by our tax dollars and require english only in schools except for specific langauge classes. 3rd step will be to get illegal immigrants out of our schools so we have the funds to properly educate Legal US Residents.


Read George Slawson January 20, 2007 4:46 am (Pacific time)

Read George Slawson near the bottom of the comments.


Jason January 19, 2007 9:20 pm (Pacific time)

Our state and country cannot be united as one people if we have large populations immigrating to our country and refusing to learn our language. Having a common language unites people. We need unity in order for the union to continue to be strong. Any dullard can understand if people do not speak a common language, then they are unable to communicate with each other, thereby creating divisions within our society. United we stand and divided we fall! Urge your Senator and Representative to support this bill.


Throgmorton January 18, 2007 10:30 pm (Pacific time)

If you don't like their language, do not hire them for their hard work and low wages. We should kiss their rear-ends for doing our dirty work. English is a unique language but so are others. I bet if French were the language in question, people would want to be pretentious sophisticates and learn as much as they can. How many Americans are too lazy to read subtitles. People from other countries view our films and culture and work to learn English in their own countries even if they have no intent in coming here.


John Brown January 18, 2007 9:57 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you Donna for having the guts to propose this bill. My ancestors learned to speak English when they immigrated to America in the 1700s. If anyone wishes to live here, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect them to learn the long accepted English language here in The United States of America. Those of you who are willing to accept what is expected to become a fellow American should feel very proud as I do, and those of you who seem to think the whole world revolves around you have much to learn.


osotan January 18, 2007 6:44 pm (Pacific time)

no genius here., and immigration wasn't my point.,learning to ommunicate was and living in a foreign country I have seen many products with several languages explaining ingredients and directions,cost is zero and profits comes from multi lingual customrs.,And English must be learened too,not excluded from the curriculum.


Jacqueline January 18, 2007 5:22 pm (Pacific time)

Yes. Finally, a law that makes sense. People learning the language where the STREET SIGNS are all written in, the language where the daily paper in written in, the language of merchants and commerce, the language of daily school language, the language of being able to vote. So why are the hispanics upset? Because they were given special treatment over all of THE OTHER languages that is spoken in this state. It is about time that people who come here beyond just vacation visiting, LEARN that there are requirements to staying here--ie: get a language book, and phrase book, etc and learn the language....ohhh you mean like I did when I went overseas for a vacation?


Paul Wolfowiz World Blank January 18, 2007 4:22 pm (Pacific time)

We are now fully globalized and the ruff edges need to be polished off. The World Bank wants one world government and one curency. There is no more United States...get over it! Politicians speak out of both sides of their mouths in this country. Policy on the surface is against immigration but in practice if WalMart, Dell, Verizon etc. want foreign workers here that is what we will have. I can not believe that people can not see that phase one of globalization for the benefit of the global elite is now complete. Wake Up for your own sake. Read about the Bilderberg on the internet. Listen to Alex Jones on the internet or read one of Greg Palasts books. There are only 13 corporations left in the borders that used to be the United States that are owned by Americans. My local lighting company is up for sale to a company in England. You better get used to other languages because foreign companies and governments already own you. Do you even know who Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is? She owns about have of Royal Dutch Shell. When was the last time you went to a Shell station. Citgo is owned by Venezuela. Multinationals control every aspect of your life. It does not matter anymore if you die from hunger or medical neglect or if someone in China dies. Anyone that still is talking patriotic U.S.A. nonsense is really out of touch and behind. You will be the first to die of neglect because you bought the MSM propaganda. Save yourselves! PLEASE! LEARN HOW TO FIGHT! BEAR ARMS, YOU WILL NEED IT! Watch the movie "Sleeper" from about 1970, it predicted what was to come.


Sue January 18, 2007 3:36 pm (Pacific time)

Why is our society afraid of people that speak another language? Let's all make an effort to learn a foreign language and try to get a long with our neighbors. Non-english speaking people have rights too.


Deborah January 18, 2007 12:20 pm (Pacific time)

We are an English speaking country and should stay that way. It is costly when agencies have to cover several languages. How about non English speaking people bringing their own translators instead of the tax payers having to provide this service.


Misty January 18, 2007 10:25 am (Pacific time)

Having a state/National language is not a negative thing. It is not backwards. It will help motivate people who come to our country to learn the language so that they can interact and understand basic directions-such as don't burn your barbeques inside your house. If the charcoal companies had to put that warning on every bag in 138 languages, they wouldn't have room, and they would end up going out of business due to the cost involved. Same goes for road signs, grocery store ads, teaching in classrooms, etc. If someone moves here, then they need to learn the language of the country they are moving to. They left their country for a better life, part of that better life means to adapt to what is done in that new culture, not continue to do what it was that you tried to leave behind.


Warren January 18, 2007 10:24 am (Pacific time)

"How about legislation to make it mandatory to, and enable students to learn more than one language?" well genius, that *is* a requirement to graduate from public schools in Oregon. Why should Oregonians pay extra taxes to encourage immigrants to keep from learning the language used in daily life through all the the country except in communities that refuse to assimilate? Why would anyone make such a life changing decision to change your country and alligence from one country to another without doing a little prep work first.


hmm, January 18, 2007 8:52 am (Pacific time)

sound like a bunch a rednecks,ya'll ought ta go ta crawford


Henry Ruark January 18, 2007 8:52 am (Pacific time)

Ancient Romans succumbed to same silly-sickness re "royalism" applied to language -- and we may suffer same fate.


Impressed! January 18, 2007 8:51 am (Pacific time)

After umpteen ineffectual years in the state house Donna's finally come up with a winner! I hope the Democrats have the sense to get on board? While Chinese students are being forced to learn English, ours are being forced to learn a language of the third world. We should be free to speak any language we desire, but forced to learn just one; in this case, English. What's "racist" about a national language? We're the melting pot of the world, and uniting as one necessitates we speak a single language. The comments of 'racism' smack of reverse discrimination to me, what race speaks English?


rjerryc January 18, 2007 7:01 am (Pacific time)

Rather than see this as racism, it should be seen as simply a means of insuring that all citizens can openly and easily communicate with one another. English is the true language of the United States, for better or worse. With that thought, those who choose to immigrate here should take the responsibility of learning the language. Providing all the printed materials in various languages is a huge taxpayer expense that could be eliminated. I can recall when the information was printed only in English, then they added Spanish. Where were the first printings in Spanish needed? The welare department. Spanish speakers claimed they were unable to get welfare because they could not read English. Now, look at the number of languages everything is printed in. The only thing wrong with the measure? It is not a National one.


Abe January 18, 2007 6:53 am (Pacific time)

Didn't see any mention of this in the SJ on-line. No surprise there.


Kirscha January 18, 2007 5:31 am (Pacific time)

Can anyone explain why I need to pay for English lessons to ILLEGAL immigrants? If I moved to another country and just stayed which one would teach me the language, pay for health care, court costs,etc.. and my trip home, please tell me where those credulous people live?


Babe January 18, 2007 2:24 am (Pacific time)

Dear Abe, This country is so mixed and divided about everything under the sun, what difference does a language mean. In Europe most people know more than one language fluently. We are retarded in that regard. You say Potato and I say Patato, You say, Tomato and I say Tamato,..... Potato, Patato, Tomato, Tamato....let's call the whole thing off!


some more January 17, 2007 11:07 pm (Pacific time)

why step back? the world is online and no stopping it., and even my old computer lists programs in thirty four languages w/ growth expotential infinitum. I am glad my kids speak or have access to other languages. China is the ongoing one to get some grips on and several experts claim three to six months are required for conversational skills aquisition., even in the more difficult Baltic renderings! I wasted enough time learning outdated technology. If this legislation passes into law I say shame on us and I feel a little embarressed for those from her constituancy.


captain ganja; January 17, 2007 10:49 pm (Pacific time)

how did this person get there!


anon. January 17, 2007 10:47 pm (Pacific time)

has the representitive ventured beyond Lafayette recently?


Osotan January 17, 2007 7:54 pm (Pacific time)

How about legislation to make it mandatory to, and enable students to learn more than one language? It started out with tribes and tribal dialects, English is important but so is French, Arabic, Spanish, Hindi, Tieng Viet, Vow Lao, Russian, and one or two hundred variations at least. Legislate to learn. This bill may be well meaning but flawed and narrows rather than broadens our kids' communications skills, Chai Baw?


Matt Johnson January 17, 2007 5:55 pm (Pacific time)

Unbelievable... a very mean spirit is at work here and once again it is the republicans who are trying to take things away from the poorest people. Shame on anyone who would support building ignorance in their own community.


Abe January 17, 2007 5:21 pm (Pacific time)

Praise Donna for her courage.
Divided we fall!


George Slawson January 17, 2007 3:58 pm (Pacific time)

Now that racists can't express their racism directly any more they mask it in mesures like this. Good thing the true Oregon natives didn't have the power to enforce an official language when our Europen ancestors arrived, illegal except for the power of the gun. We'd all be doing business in Chinook Jargon now. Hasn't Representative Nelson got anything real to do?


Albert Marnell January 17, 2007 3:00 pm (Pacific time)

I didn't know that Elizabeth Taylor was an Oregon State Representative. People never consider the advantage that immigrants from the British Isles (this includes Ireland) had when they came here. I have no problem with helping non-English speaking immigrants to get adjusted. My German and Italian grandparents had it extra hard having to learn a new language 80 plus years ago and I wish that the culture could see the reality of the unfairness of not having English as a native tongue. Because anti-British sentiment was so great after the Revolutionary War, German was going to be the national language but lost by one vote.....so you see how random it all is. Du sollst nicht so unfreundlich sein zu die neue Immigranten.


j January 17, 2007 2:16 pm (Pacific time)

Este es muy bien!

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