Son Of HB 1804 Put Off, English Only On

Thursday, March 13th 2008, 6:25 pm
By: News On 6

The controversial "Son of 1804" anti-immigration bill will not become a reality this year.  Representative Randy Terrill decided to stop pursuing the bill which covered several immigration issues to focus on just one issue.  The News On 6's Amy Lester reports he wants to make English Oklahoma's official language.

Representative Randy Terrill believes it's so important that he wants to amend the state constitution to make English Oklahoma's official language.

"We want to make sure as the official entity of the State of Oklahoma that our language is declared to be English and that shall be the language in which we shall conduct our business," said Representative Randy Terrill.

That would mean no more state documents printed in other languages, no more driver's license tests in Spanish and no obligation for many state agencies to provide translators.

This late in the session, Terrill has a strategy to push his bill through.  Once a totally separate senate bill passes and moves to the house, he'll completely gut it, and turn it into his English language bill.  The move would allow the measure to skip committee altogether. 

"It saves on some of the procedural and technical difficulties and makes sure that we get a clean up or down vote in the Senate as to whether English should be our official language," said Representative Randy Terrill.

Not everyone's on the same page as Representative Terrill. 

"We should help people to assimilate and we don't help them assimilate if we just close our door," said Representative Al Lindley.

Lindley opposes making English our official language.  He says it gives our state a bad name.

"I don't think making Oklahoma the butt joke of the universe is productive to Oklahoma's image," said Representative Lindley.

Representative Terrill explains 30 states have already done this.  He insists Oklahoma should, too.

Since the proposal requires changing the Oklahoma Constitution, if Terrill's bill passes, it would then go to a vote of the people this fall. 

Representative Terrill says he'll address the other anti-immigration issues he planned to include in the bill next year.

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