Colorado Bill Would Make English Official Written Language

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - Should English be the official written language in government operations in Colorado? That question will be decided by voters if a bill introduced Wednesday is approved.

The measure, House Concurrent Resolution 06 (HCR06), introduced by Colorado Rep. Dave Schultheis, would make exceptions though for public health and safety, trade and tourism, or in cases where federal law dictates language policies.

"There may be a nationwide split on immigration policy, but Americans are nearly unanimous in their support of an assimilation policy," said Mauro E. Mujica, chairman of U.S. English, in a press release.

"Americans expect that this country's newest residents will proudly wave our flag and make strides to learn our language - English. An official English policy is the state government's manner of endorsing that sentiment," said Mujica.

Though the state's official language is English, Colorado law does not address how that affects daily government policy, Mujica's group said. HCR06 seeks to require the government to use English in most printed communication.

"In a nation of immigrants, the English language is the one common trait we can rally behind," said Mujica, who emigrated to the U.S. from Chile in 1965.

"By doing government business in English, rather than continuing the spread of damaging multilingualism, we can lead all Americans toward opportunity and success. I congratulate Rep. Schultheis for his foresight in introducing this bill and look forward to its passage in the legislature," concluded Mujica.

If HCR06 clears the state House and Senate, the measure would be placed before voters on the general election ballot in November.

Colorado voters approved English as the official language of the state in legislation on a ballot initiative on Nov. 8, 1988. Similar official English initiatives have gone into effect in all seven states where it appeared on the ballot.

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