Introduced Version House Bill 3254 History

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H. B. 3254

(By Delegate Louisos)
[Introduced March 25, 2005; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §2-2-13, relating to designating English as the official state language.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §2-2-13, to read as follows:
§2-2-13. Official state language.
(a) The common language is recognized to be English, and the common language is designated as the language of official public documents and records and official public meetings.
(b) Official documents and records are all documents officially compiled, published, or recorded by the state including deeds, publicly probated wills, records of births, deaths and marriages, and all other public records as defined in section two, article one, chapter twenty-nine-b of this code; and official public meetings are those meetings and proceedings required to be open to the public pursuant to section three, article nine-a, chapter six of this code.
(c) The provisions of this article do not apply:
(1) To instruction in foreign language courses;
(2) To instruction designed to aid students with limited English proficiency in a timely transition and integration into the general education system;
(3) To the promotion of international commerce, tourism, and sporting events;
(4) When considered to interfere with needs of the justice system;
(5) When the public safety, health or emergency services require the use of other languages: Provided, That any authorization for other use of languages other than the common language in printing informational materials or publications for general distribution must be approved in an official public meeting by the governing board or authority of the relevant state or municipal entity and the decision must be recorded in minutes which are made available as public records;
(6) When expert testimony, witnesses or speakers may require a language other than the common language: Provided, That for purposes of deliberation, decision making or record keeping, the official version of the testimony or commentary shall be the officially translated English language version.
(d) Pursuant to the exemptions outlined in subdivision (3), subsection (a) through (f) of this section, all costs relating to the preparation, translation, printing and recording of documents, records, brochures, pamphlets, flyers or other informational materials in languages other than the common language must be delineated as a separate budget line item in the agency, departmental or office budget.
(e) No person shall be denied employment with the state or any constituent entities or municipalities based solely upon that person's lack of facility in a foreign language, except where related to a bona fide job need reflected in the exemptions in subdivision (3), subsection (a) through (f) of this section.
(f) This article shall not be construed in any way to infringe upon the rights of citizens under the State Constitution or the Constitution of the United States in the use of language in private activities. No agency or officer of the state nor any constituent entities or municipalities may place any restrictions or requirements regarding language usage in businesses operating in the private sector other than official documents, forms, submissions or other communications directed to government agencies officers, which communications shall be in the common language as recognized in this article.
(g) Right of action. -- Any citizen of the state has standing to bring an action against the state to enforce this section. The state courts have jurisdiction to hear and decide any action brought under this subsection.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to designate English as the official state language.

This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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