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Ohio House of Representatives Approves Official English Bill.

WASHINGTON -- The Ohio House of Representatives voted today to make English the official language of the state. By a vote of 54-42, the House passed H.B. 477, marking the first time the Ohio House has approved an official English bill since 1998. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Introduced by Rep. Robert Mecklenborg, the legislation would require the use of English in the majority of state affairs. Under H.B. 477, government agencies will be required to conduct official business and proceedings in English, helping to promote English learning among immigrants. The bill contains exemptions to comply with state and federal law, as well as to protect the health and safety of Ohio residents.

"As the number of Ohioans who struggle with English grows, the government must react swiftly to ensure that these newcomers are on the road to learning English and becoming Americans," said Mauro E. Mujica, Chairman of U.S. English, Inc. "H.B. 477 is sound government policy that will lead to the development of a more productive citizenry and reduce the likelihood of a permanent linguistic underclass."

To date, 30 states have made English their official language, including Arizona in Nov. 2006, Idaho in March 2007 and Kansas in May 2007. Since the beginning of 2006, official English legislation has also been approved in at least one chamber of the legislature in Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. A 2006 survey by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research found that 77 percent of Ohioans support making English the official language of the state, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

"Ohio residents have made it clear that they want state government to promote English learning among immigrants, not the permanent crutch of perpetual multilingual assistance," added Mujica. "I want to applaud Representative Mecklenborg and the majority of the House of Representatives for reflecting that belief in their vote today and I look forward to quick consideration of this matter in the Senate."

U.S. English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non-partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S. English, Inc. has more than 1.8 million members nationwide.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 22, 2008
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