GENERAL CODE PROVISIONS
CONSTRUCTION OF STATUTES
73-121. English the official state language. (1) English is hereby declared to be the official language of the state of Idaho.
(2) Except as provided in this section, the English language is the sole language of the government.
(3) Except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, any document, certificate or instrument required to be filed, recorded or endorsed by any officer of this state, or of any county, city or district in this state, shall be in the English language or shall be accompanied by a certified translation in English and all transactions, proceedings, meetings or publications issued, conducted or regulated by, or on behalf of, or representing the state of Idaho, or any county, city or other political subdivision in this state shall be in the English language.
(4) Language other than English may be used when required:
(a) By the United States Constitution, the Idaho Constitution, federal law or federal regulation;
(b) By law enforcement or public health and safety needs;
(c) By public schools according to the rules promulgated by the state board of education pursuant to subsection (6) of this section;
(d) By the public postsecondary educational institutions to pursue educational purposes;
(e) To promote and encourage tourism and economic development, including the hosting of international events;
(f) To change the use of non-English terms of art, phrases, proper names or expressions included as part of communication otherwise in English; and
(g) By libraries to:
(i) Collect and promote foreign language materials; and
(ii) Provide foreign language services and activities.
(5) Unless exempted by subsection (4) of this section, all state funds appropriated or designated for the printing or translation of materials or the provision of services or information in a language other than English shall be returned to the state general fund.
(a) Each state agency that has state funds appropriated or designated for the printing or translation of materials or the provision of services or information in a language other than English shall:
(i) Notify the state controller that those moneys exist and the amount of those moneys; and
(ii) Return those moneys to the state controller for deposit into the state general fund.
(b) The state controller shall account for those moneys and inform the legislature of the existence and amount of those moneys at the beginning of the legislature’s annual general session.
(6) The state board of education shall make rules governing the use of foreign languages in the public schools that promote the following principles:
(a) Non-English speaking children and adults should become able to read, write and understand English as quickly as possible;
(b) Foreign language instruction should be encouraged;
(c) Formal and informal programs in English as a second language should be initiated, continued and expanded; and
(d) Public schools should establish communication with non-English speaking parents within their systems, using a means designed to maximize understanding when necessary, while encouraging those parents who do not speak English to become more proficient in English.
(7) Nothing in this section shall restrict the rights of governmental employees, private businesses, not-for-profit organizations or private individuals to exercise their right under the first amendment of the United States constitution or section 9, article I, of the Idaho constitution.
[73-121, added 1986, ch. 282, sec. 1, p. 706; am. 2007, ch. 254, sec. 1, p. 758.]