On Monday Senators Andre Jacque, Dave Craig, and Steve Nass began circulating a bill to make English the official language of Wisconsin. This bill was introduced in the 2013 legislative session when by Jacque and Craig when they were members of the state assembly, but failed to pass. The bill requires all state government documents to be written in English, with a few exceptions for protecting health and safety, teaching another language, or protecting defendants' rights and facilitating census counts. The measure allows other languages to be used for private purposes. 

The senators believe this bill is important to American society, and because it improves the ability of immigrants to find jobs. Official language bills have been passed in 32 states, and have been all the rage in conservative legislatures for the past few years. The clock is ticking on this as Vos and Fitzgerald plan very limited numbers of floor session in this legislative session, and Governor Evers is likely to veto such a measure. The bill seems unlikely to get through the legislature this year, but once again serves as a beacon to conservative voters in the state that the legislature is looking out for conservative interests. 

In a statement yesterday Representative JoCasta Zamarippa of Milwaukee said

“This bill reared its ugly head in previous sessions, but it didn't even receive a public hearing because it is clear Wisconsinites do not support such extreme policies,” she said. “The shameful attacks on Latinos are divide and conquer politics at their worst.”

We also question whether it is at all possible that immigrants into the state are not aware of the fact that learning English will increase their job prospects. The most conservative members of the legislature seem to be determined to prove that they understand the needs of our immigrant communities better than the immigrants themselves. With the many issues facing our state it is bewildering that this is the sort of law that our legislators are considering a priority.

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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