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U.S. English Chairman Commends WV State Committee on Passage of Official English Bill

U.S. English Chairman Commends WV State Committee on Passage of Official English Bill

February 16, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica today commended the West Virginia State Judiciary Committee on its passage of a bill that would declare English the official language of the state.

HB 3019, introduced by Delegate Woody Ireland, would require that all official state business be conducted in English. The bill recently passed the House Judiciary Committee and now awaits three readings prior to moving to the House Floor for a vote.

“The committee passage of HB 3019 is a significant step for this unifying legislation,” Chairman Mujica said. “West Virginia faces a unique situation when it comes to foreign language speakers. Of residents who speak Asian and Pacific Island languages, more than a fifth are limited English proficient, meaning they would struggle to carry on a basic conversation in English. The state’s Spanish speakers also struggle, with more than 10 percent of households being limited English proficient. Delegate Ireland’s bill would allow the government use of foreign language in common sense circumstances such as health and safety, judicial situations and more. But, it would also encourage the state’s non-English speakers to learn the common language for their own benefit. When residents are united by a common means of communicating, they- and the state economy- benefit. I encourage all members of the West Virginia State House to support this bill when it comes to the floor for a vote.”

A companion bill, SB 470, was introduced by State Senator Dave Sypolt and is currently awaiting further action by the Senate Government Organization Committee.


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