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Oregon Lawmaker Introduces Bill That Would Make English Oregon’s Official LanguageKevin Hays Salem-News.com Capitol Watch
Twenty-eight other states have passed similar legislation.
(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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