PROPOSITION 106 (1988)


1. English as the Official Language; Applicability

Section 1:

(1) The English language is the official language of the State of Arizona.

(2) As the official language of this State, the English language is the language of the ballot, the public schools, and all government functions and actions.

(3) (a) This Article applies to:

(i) the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government;

(ii) all political subdivisions, departments, agencies, organizations and instrumentalities of this State, including local governments and municipalities;

(iii) all statutes, ordinances, rules, orders, programs and policies;

(iv) all government officials and employees during the performance of government business.

(b) As used in this Article, the phrase "This State and all political subdivisions of this State" shall include every entity, person, action or item described in this Section, as appropriate to the circumstances.

2. Requiring This State to Preserve, Protect, and Enhance English

Section 2:

    This State and all political subdivisions of this State shall take all reasonable steps to preserve, protect and enhance the role of the English language as the sole official language of the State of Arizona.

3. Prohibiting This State from Using or Requiring the Use of Languages Other Than English; Exceptions

Section 3:

    (1) Except as provided in Subsection (2):

      (a) This State and all political subdivisions of this State shall act in English and no other language.

      (b) No entity to which this Article applies shall make or enforce a law, order, decree or policy which requires the use of a language other than English.

      (c) No governmental document shall be valid or enforceable unless it is in the English language.

    (2) This State and all political subdivisions of this State may act in a language other than English under any of the following circumstances:

      (a) to assist students who are not proficient in the English language, to the extent necessary to comply with federal law, by giving educational instruction in a language other than English to provide as rapid as possible a transition to English;

      (b) to comply with other federal laws;

      (c) to teach a student a foreign language as part of a required or voluntary educational curriculum;

      (d) to protect public health or safety;

      (e) to protect the rights of criminal defendants or victims of crime.

4. Enforcement; Standing

Section 4:

A person who resides in or does business in this State shall have standing to bring suit to enforce this Article in a court of record of the State. The Legislature may enact reasonable limitations on the time and manner of bringing suit under this subsection.

*This constitutional amendment was ruled unconstitutional in Yñiguez v. Mofford, by the federal District Court for Arizona and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but these decisions were vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 3, 1997. On April 28, 1998, it was struck down by a unanimous Arizona Supreme Court as a violation of the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and equal protection of the laws.

Source: Charles V. Dale and Mark Gurevitz, Legal Analysis of Proposals to Make English the Official Language of the United States, Oct. 17, 1995, Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.