STATE OF ALASKA
Ballot Measure No. 6
Alaskans approved the following initiative statute
on 3 November 1998, by a 69-31% vote; declared unconstitutional in state
superior court, 22 March 2002.
AN INITIATIVE ADOPTING ENGLISH AS THE OFFICIAL STATE LANGUAGE OF ALASKA
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:
Section 1. Findings and Purpose
The people of the State of Alaska find that English is the
common unifying language of the State of Alaska and the United States of
America, and declare a compelling interest in promoting, preserving and
strengthening its use.
Section 2. Official Language
The English language is the official language of the State
Section 3. Scope
The English language is the language to be used by all public
agencies in all government functions and actions. The English language
shall be used in the preparation of all official public documents and records,
including all documents officially compiled, published or recorded by the
Section 4. Applicability
This Act applies to the legislative and executive branches
of the State of Alaska and all political subdivisions, including all departments,
agencies, divisions and instrumentalities of the State, the University
of Alaska, all public authorities and corporations, all local governments
and departments, agencies, divisions, and instrumentalities of local governments,
and all government officers and employees.
Section 5. Exceptions
(a) The government, as defined in Section 4 of this Act, may
use a language other than English when necessary for the following purposes:
Section 6. Public Accountability
(1) to communicate health and safety information or when an
emergency requires the use of a language other than English,
(2) to teach another language to students proficient in English,
(3) to teach English to students of limited English proficiency,
(4) to promote international relations, trade, commerce, tourism or
(5) to protect the constitutional and legal rights of criminal defendants,
(6) to serve the needs of the judicial system in civil and criminal
cases in compliance with court rules and orders,
(7) to investigate criminal activity and protect the rights of crime
(8) to the extent necessary to comply with federal law, including the
Native American Languages Act,
(9) to attend or observe religious ceremonies,
(10) to use non-English terms of art, names, phrases, or expressions
included as part of communications otherwise in English, and
(11) to communicate orally with constituents by elected public officials
and their staffs, if the public official or staff member is already proficient
in a language other than English.
All costs related to the preparation, translation, printing,
or recording of documents, records, brochures, pamphlets, flyers, or other
material in languages other than English shall be defined as a separate
line item in the budget of every governmental agency, department or office.
Section 7. Non-Denial of Employment or Services
(1) No governmental entity shall require knowledge of a language
other than English as a condition of employment unless the requirements
of the position fall within one of the exceptions provided in Section 5
of this Act, and facility in another language is a bona fide job qualification
required to fulfill a function included within one of the exceptions.
Section 8. Private Sector Excluded
(b) No person may be denied services, assistance, benefits, or facilities,
directly or indirectly provided by the government, because that person
communicates only in English.
This Act shall not be construed in any way that infringes upon
the rights of persons to use languages other than English in activities
or functions conducted solely in the private sector, and the government
may not restrict the use of language other than English in such private
activities or functions.
Section 9. Private Cause of Action Authorized
Any person may bring suit against any governmental entity to
enforce the provisions of this Act.
Section 10. Severability
The provisions of this Act are independent and severable, and
if any provision of this Act, or the applicability of any provision to
any person or circumstance, shall be held to be invalid by a court of competent
jurisdiction, the remainder of this Act shall not be affected and shall
be given effect to the fullest extent practicable.