“Time and time again, history has demonstrated that the English language is one of the strongest and most fundamental ties uniting all American citizens,” said Metcalfe. “Pennsylvania taxpayers simply cannot afford, and should not continue to be required, to foot the bill for government translating and printing infinite amounts of forms, documents and publications in many languages other than English.”
While absolutely no one would be restricted from learning or conversing in a foreign language under House Bill 2132, Metcalfe’s legislation would require all official acts of state and local governments, including the printing of government documents, to be communicated in English. House Bill 2132 would also prohibit any level of government from enacting a preference, or the appropriation of taxpayer funding, for any language other than English with the following exceptions:
· Promotion of international commerce and tourism.
· When public health, safety and justice requires usage of another language.
· Instruction in foreign language courses or for English as a second language for students.
“Data from the U.S. Census supports that immigrants who speak English earn, on average, two to three times as much as those who do not,” Metcalfe said. “Making English the official language of Pennsylvania offers a powerful incentive for immigrants to learn English and will ultimately save our taxpayers millions of dollars annually. In the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, ‘We have one language here, and that is the English language, and we intend to see that America’s melting pot turns our people out as Americans.’”
In recent years, 31 states have passed similar official-English-in-government laws, while Pennsylvania remains one of only 19 states that have failed to implement a statewide official English law. As in previous legislative sessions, the Official Language Act is expected to be referred to the House State Government Committee for consideration.
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