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Provision declaring English as state's 'official language' with Senate



A provision that would require all the state's business to be conducted in English is scheduled for Senate action this week, its author said.

State Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, said he plans to insert the provision into an existing measure, Senate Bill 163, a "shell" bill.

Terrill said the English-language legislation would have been the centerpiece of what he originally termed "Son of House Bill 1804," an omnibus bill that would have tightened restrictions on undocumented immigrants in the state of Oklahoma.

"I think it's pretty clear that the majority of the people not only want HB 1804 enforced, they want it strengthened," Terrill said. "I rolled out some proposals. The centerpiece of the 'Son of 1804' was making English the official language."

The law sought by Terrill would require that government business in Oklahoma be conducted solely in English. Terrill said that means:
" phone-answering menus in state offices would not have "punch two for Spanish" options,
" documents would only be printed in English and
" state-required drivers' education courses would only be conducted in English.

State Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole said the bill would mandate that state health care be conducted in English only, meaning a person who does not speak English " whether a citizen or not " visiting a doctor would by law be unable to communicate with that doctor in anything but English. Coates said such a requirement is likely against free speech.

"I think it's a dangerous piece of legislation in that regard," he said. "Ben Fenwick



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