Oklahoma Passes Official English Legislation

by multilingualmania on November 3, 2010

in Anti-Bilingualism, Language Policy, Politics

Ballots in Florida - US Election 2008


On November 2, 2010 approximately 75% of Oklahoma voters approved a constitutional amendment that mandates that all “official state actions” be conducted in English. “Official actions” are currently undefined by the legislation. The legislation also prohibits lawsuits from being brought to state agencies or political subdivisions of the state as a result of failure to use another language. Exceptions to the official English amendment include Native American indigenous languages, as well as instances where federal law requires the use of other languages.

Oklahoma is the latest of a number of states who have enacted official English legislation. According to U.S. English, an “official English” advocacy organization, the following states have enacted official English legislation: Louisiana (1812), Nebraska (1920), Illinois (1969), Massachusetts (1975), Hawaii (1978), Indiana (1984), Kentucky (1984), Tennessee (1984), California (1986), South Carolina (1987), Arkansas (1987), Mississippi (1987), North Carolina (1987), North Dakota (1987), Colorado (1988), Florida (1988), Alabama (1990), Montana (1995), New Hampshire (1995), South Dakota (1995), Georgia (1996), Virginia (1996), Wyoming (1996), Alaska (1996), Missouri (1998), Utah (2000), Iowa (2002), Arizona (2006), and Idaho (2007). At the federal level there is currently no official language identified.

Proponents of “official English” legislation assert that measures promote unity and encourage immigrants to learn English. Opponents and critics of “official English” legislation contend that such legislation discriminates against linguistic minorities and is provoked by anti-immigrant sentiment.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Randy November 4, 2010 at 2:26 pm

That’s really sad.

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