Print Friendly SENATE BILL NO. 1469 – English, official language
SENATE BILL NO. 1469
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S1469......................................................by STATE AFFAIRS
ENGLISH LANGUAGE - Adds to existing law to provide that English shall be
the official language of the state of Idaho; to provide application; to
provide exceptions; and to provide for rules of construction for English
language in the laws of Idaho.
02/21 Senate intro - 1st rdg - to printing
02/22 Rpt prt - to St Aff
|||| LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ||||
Fifty-sixth Legislature Second Regular Session - 2002
IN THE SENATE
SENATE BILL NO. 1469
BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO; PROVIDING A SHORT
3 TITLE; PROVIDING LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS; AMENDING CHAPTER 1, TITLE 73, IDAHO
4 CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION 73-123, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE THAT
5 ENGLISH SHALL BE THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO, TO PROVIDE
6 APPLICATION, TO PROVIDE EXCEPTIONS, TO PROVIDE FOR RULES OF CONSTRUCTION
7 FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN THE LAWS OF IDAHO; AND PROVIDING SEVERABILITY.
8 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
9 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This act may be cited as the "Idaho English
10 Reaffirmation Act of 2002."
11 SECTION 2. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS. The Legislature of the State of Idaho
12 finds and declares the following:
13 (1) The state of Idaho is comprised of individuals from diverse ethnic,
14 cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
15 (2) Throughout the history of Idaho and the United States, the common
16 thread binding individuals of differing backgrounds has been the English lan-
18 (3) Among the powers reserved to the states respectively is the power to
19 establish the English language as the official language of the respective
20 states, and otherwise to promote the English language within the respective
21 states, subject to the prohibitions enumerated in the Constitution of the
22 United States and in laws of the respective states.
23 SECTION 3. That Chapter 1, Title 73, Idaho Code, be, and the same is
24 hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and des-
25 ignated as Section 73-123, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
26 73-123. OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO. (1) In order to encour-
27 age every citizen of this state to become more proficient in the English lan-
28 guage, thereby facilitating participation in the economic, political and cul-
29 tural activities of this state of the United States, the English language is
30 hereby declared to be the official language of the state of Idaho.
31 (2) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3) of this section, the
32 English language shall be the language of government in Idaho. All official
33 documents, rules, orders, transactions, proceedings, programs, meetings, pub-
34 lications or actions taken or issued, which are conducted or regulated by, or
35 on behalf of, or representing the state and all of its political subdivisions
36 shall be in the English language.
37 (3) This section shall not apply to:
38 (a) The teaching of languages;
39 (b) Requirements under the federal individuals with disabilities educa-
40 tion act;
41 (c) Actions, documents or policies necessary for trade tourism or com-
2 (d) Actions or documents that protect the public health and safety;
3 (e) Actions or documents that facilitate the activities which pertain to
4 the compiling of any census of population;
5 (f) Actions that protect the rights of victims of crimes or criminal
7 (g) Using proper names, terms of art or phrases from languages other than
9 (h) Any language usage required by or necessary to secure rights guaran-
10 teed by the constitution and laws of the United States of America or the
11 constitution of the state of Idaho.
12 (4) Nothing in this section shall be construed:
13 (a) To prohibit an individual member of the legislature or officer of
14 state government, while performing official business, from communicating
15 through any medium with another person in a language other than English,
16 if that officer or member deems it necessary or desirable to do so;
17 (b) To limit the preservation or use of native American languages, as
18 defined in the federal native American languages act;
19 (c) To disparage any language other than English or to discourage any
20 person from learning or using a language other than English.
21 (5) For purposes of all laws of the state of Idaho:
22 (a) English language requirements and workplace policies, whether in pub-
23 lic or private employment, shall be presumptively consistent with the
24 laws of Idaho; and
25 (b) Any ambiguity in the English language text of the laws of Idaho shall
26 be resolved in accordance with the last two (2) articles of the bill of
27 rights of the United States constitution, not to deny or disparage rights
28 retained by the people, and to reserve powers to the states respectively,
29 or to the people.
30 SECTION 4. SEVERABILITY. The provisions of this act are hereby declared
31 to be severable and if any provision of this act or the application of such
32 provision to any person or circumstance is declared invalid for any reason,
33 such declaration shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of
34 this act.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The purpose of this proposal is to add a new section to the Idaho
Code for the purpose of declaring English to be the official
language of the State. It requires all state business to be
conducted in English. Exceptions are provided for compliance with
the State Constitution, the United States Constitution, and federal
laws and regulations, and for school systems use to promote
proficiency in English and teach foreign languages as established
by the State Board of Education.
There is no fiscal impact on the state general fund.
Name: Senator Sheila Sorensen
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE S 1469