GOP Lawmaker Touts English Bill

Elvia Díaz, Arizona Republic, Jan. 13

Hispanic leaders responded with indignation Wednesday to a plan by state lawmakers to declare English the official language of Arizona.

House Concurrent Resolution 2030 would allow voters to require that most government business be conducted in English. The state, cities and counties could not print documents such as water bills in Spanish or any other foreign language.

One prominent Latino called the proposal a “slap in the face” to Hispanics, who make up 25 percent of Arizona’s 5 million residents.

“It’s insulting to Hispanics and Native Americans and anyone else who speak a different language,” said Rep. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix.

The proposal offered by Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa and co-sponsored by five other legislators comes 16 years after voters approved an English-only law that eventually was declared unconstitutional.

“We’re an English-only nation, and our records should reflect that,” Pearce said. “If you come to America, you should speak English.”

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