Petition calling for English to be official Oklahoma language turned in

Tuesday, July 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma Secretary of State will begin counting signatures Tuesday on an initiative petition calling for a statewide vote on making English the official language of Oklahoma. More than 100,000 signatures were collected on the petition, said Tim Schultz, press secretary for U.S. English in Washington, D.C., which helped finance the petition drive.

Petition supporters need 69,887 valid signatures of registered Oklahoma voters to get the proposal on the ballot. State Sen. Carol Martin, R-Comanche, and Rep. Ron Kirby, D-Lawton, were Oklahoma leaders of the petition drive. "I guess I am trying to keep from happening some of the things that happened in other states like California where they've had multiple lawsuits where different immigrants came into the state and wanted their language printed on all state documents," Martin said. “This is more of a safety precaution for Oklahoma,” she said.

The proposal would require all state business to be conducted in English. It also directs that all state money appropriated for use in conducting state business in a language other than English be returned to the general revenue fund. The money could be used by the state Legislature for English language programs. It could not be determined Monday if any state money is appropriated to that use. The proposal would go into effect Jan. 1 if approved.