SENATE BILL NO. 1172
Signed into law March 28, 2007
]]]] LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ]]]]
Fifty-ninth Legislature First Regular Session - 2007
IN THE SENATE
SENATE BILL NO. 1172
BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO ENGLISH AS IDAHO'S OFFICIAL LANGUAGE; AMENDING SECTION 73-121,
3 IDAHO CODE, TO DECLARE ENGLISH TO BE THE OFFICIAL STATE LANGUAGE, TO PRO-
4 VIDE THAT ENGLISH IS THE SOLE LANGUAGE OF GOVERNMENT SUBJECT TO EXCEP-
5 TIONS, TO PROVIDE THAT SPECIFIED ACTIONS SHALL BE IN ENGLISH SUBJECT TO
6 EXCEPTIONS, TO STATE EXCEPTIONS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE RETURN OF SPECIFIED
7 FUNDS TO THE STATE GENERAL FUND, TO PROVIDE DUTIES OF STATE AGENCIES, TO
8 PROVIDE DUTIES OF THE STATE CONTROLLER, TO PROVIDE THE STATE BOARD OF EDU-
9 CATION RULEMAKING AUTHORITY GOVERNING THE USE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES IN THE
10 PUBLIC SCHOOLS, TO PROVIDE FOR RECOGNITION OF SPECIFIED CONSTITUTIONAL
11 RIGHTS; AND TO PROVIDE FOR SEVERABILITY.
12 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
13 SECTION 1. That Section 73-121, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
14 amended to read as follows:
15 73-121. CERTAIN DOCUMENTS TO BE IN ENGLISH THE OFFICIAL STATE LANGUAGE.
16 (1) English is hereby declared to be the official language of the state of
18 (2) Except as provided in this section, the English language is the sole
19 language of the government.
20 (3) Except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, a Any document,
21 certificate or instrument required to be filed, recorded or endorsed by any
22 officer of this state, or of any county, city or district in this state, shall
23 be in the English language or shall be accompanied by a certified translation
24 in English and all transactions, proceedings, meetings or publications issued,
25 conducted or regulated by, or on behalf of, or representing the state of
26 Idaho, or any county, city or other political subdivision in this state shall
27 be in the English language.
28 (4) Language other than English may be used when required:
29 (a) By the United States Constitution, the Idaho Constitution, federal
30 law or federal regulation;
31 (b) By law enforcement or public health and safety needs;
32 (c) By public schools according to the rules promulgated by the state
33 board of education pursuant to subsection (6) of this section;
34 (d) By the public postsecondary educational institutions to pursue educa-
35 tional purposes;
36 (e) To promote and encourage tourism and economic development, including
37 the hosting of international events;
38 (f) To change the use of non-English terms of art, phrases, proper names
39 or expressions included as part of communication otherwise in English; and
40 (g) By libraries to:
41 (i) Collect and promote foreign language materials; and
42 (ii) Provide foreign language services and activities.
43 (5) Unless exempted by subsection (4) of this section, all state funds
1 appropriated or designated for the printing or translation of materials or the
2 provision of services or information in a language other than English shall be
3 returned to the state general fund.
4 (a) Each state agency that has state funds appropriated or designated for
5 the printing or translation of materials or the provision of services or
6 information in a language other than English shall:
7 (i) Notify the state controller that those moneys exist and the
8 amount of those moneys; and
9 (ii) Return those moneys to the state controller for deposit into
10 the state general fund.
11 (b) The state controller shall account for those moneys and inform the
12 legislature of the existence and amount of those moneys at the beginning
13 of the legislature's annual general session.
14 (6) The state board of education shall make rules governing the use of
15 foreign languages in the public schools that promote the following principles:
16 (a) Non-English speaking children and adults should become able to read,
17 write and understand English as quickly as possible;
18 (b) Foreign language instruction should be encouraged;
19 (c) Formal and informal programs in English as a second language should
20 be initiated, continued and expanded; and
21 (d) Public schools should establish communication with non-English speak-
22 ing parents within their systems, using a means designed to maximize
23 understanding when necessary, while encouraging those parents who do not
24 speak English to become more proficient in English.
25 (7) Nothing in this section shall restrict the rights of governmental
26 employees, private businesses, not-for-profit organizations or private indi-
27 viduals to exercise their right under the first amendment of the United States
28 constitution or section 9, article I, of the Idaho constitution.
29 SECTION 2. SEVERABILITY. The provisions of this act are hereby declared
30 to be severable and if any provision of this act or the application of such
31 provision to any person or circumstance is declared invalid for any reason,
32 such declaration shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of
33 this act.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
English is Idaho's Official Language.
In the beginning Idaho was comprised of individual from many
ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, and as a people we
continue to benefit from this rich diversity.
Idaho was able to build a state from this widespread and diverse
background because of a binding common thread...The English
language. A common language has allowed us to discuss, debate, and
come to agreement on difficult issues. The need is just as great
today. The purpose of this bill is to have an official language
become our common language.
This bill provides:
1. That English is the sole language of government subject to
2. To provide that specified action shall be in English subject
3. To prohibit use of state funds for specified activities.
4. To provide for the return of specified funds to the state
5. To provide duties of state agencies, and the State Controller.
6. To provide the State Board of Education rulemaking authority
governing the use of foreign languages in public schools.
7. To provide for recognition of enumerated rights in the
Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the
State of Idaho.
8. Provide for severability.
This bill will place no restrictions on private business or what
language citizens speak in their private lives.
There should be no increased expenditures. There is a possibility
of returning money to the General Fund. This bill would save
taxpayers from the expense of unnecessary printing.
Name: Senator Melvin Richardson
Representative Dell Raybould
Senator John McGee Representative JoAn Wood
Senator Monty Pearce Representative Larry Bradford
Senator Mike Jorgenson Representative Gary Collins
Senator Jeff Siddoway Representative Lenore Barrett
Senator Steve Bair Representative Mack Shirley
Senator Patty Ann Lodge Representative Jim Patrick
Senator Shirley McKague Representative Ken Roberts
Senator Russ Fulcher Representative Paul shepherd
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE S 1172