Lawmakers Send Bill Making Idaho’s Official Language English To Governor

Shawna Gamache, Idaho Statesman (Boise), March 20, 2007

A bill to make English Idaho’s official language passed the House on Monday.

The bill dictates that all official government business should be done in English, with certain exceptions for such things as education, public health and public safety.

The bill has already passed the Senate and awaits only the approval of Gov. Butch Otter, who has said he will sign it. All Treasure Valley Democrats and Caldwell Republican Bob Ring voted against the bill.

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Opponents said the bill was “exclusionary” and “unnecessary.” Rep. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, said she had hoped more lawmakers would vote against the bill to make a statement against a recent flier distributed by College Republicans at Boise State University. The flier, promoting a speech by former Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez, offers “a food stamp drawing” that requires climbing through a hole in a fence and offering fake ID for a shot at winning dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.

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Other lawmakers said they hoped the bill would encourage immigrants to learn English sooner upon arrival in Idaho.

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