H. R. 123
To amend title 4, United States Code, to declare English
as the official language of the Government of the United States.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 3, 1991
Mr. Emerson (for himself, Mr. Skelton, Mr. Dickinson,
Mr. Myers of Indiana, Mr. Ireland, Mr. Montgomery, Mr. Hyde, Mr. Dannemeyer,
Mr. Hastert, Mr. Hutto, Mr. Bliley, Mr. Wiley, Mr. Ravenel, Mr. Callahan,
Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Lowery of California, Mr. Herger, Mr. Broomfield,
Mr. Bevill, Mr. Gallo, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Moorhead, Mr. Slaughter of Virginia,
Mr. Lipinski, Mr. Pickett, Mr. Petri, Mr. Armey, Mr. Bereuter, Mr. Spence,
Mr. Upton, Mr. McCandless, Mr. Kasich, Mr. Bateman, Mr. Miller of Ohio,
Mr. Lewis of California, Mr. Porter, Mr. Hancock, and Mr. Clement) introduced
the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and
To amend title 4, United States Code, to declare English as the official
language of the Government of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.
The Nation has benefited throughout its history by using
the common language of English. The Congress finds and declares that English,
the language of opportunity, should be recognized in law as the official
language of the United States. The purpose of this Act (and the amendments
made by this Act) is to maintain the benefits of a single official language
of the Government of the United States. There is no intent to discriminate
against or restrict the rights of any individual in the United States.
Except where an existing law of the United States directly contravenes
this Act (or the amendments made by this Act) (such as by requiring the
use of a language other than English for an official act of Government
of the United States), no implied repeal of existing laws of the United
States is intended.
SEC. 3. ENGLISH AS OFFICIAL LANGUAGE.
(a) In General.--Title 4, United States Code, is amended
by adding at the end the following new chapter:
``CHAPTER 6--LANGUAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT
``161. Declaration of official language.
``162. Preserving official language.
``163. Official Government activities in English.
``164. Antidiscrimination provisions.
"§ 161. Declaration of official language
"§ 162. Preserving and enhancing the role
of the official language
"The Government shall have an affirmative obligation
to protect, preserve, and enhance the role of English as the official language
of the United States.
"§ 163. Government activities in English
"(a) DENIAL OF SERVICES.--No person shall be denied
services, assistance, or facilities, directly or indirectly provided by
the Government solely because the person communicates in English.
"(b) ENTITLEMENT.--Every person in the United States
is entitled to--
"(1) communicate with the Government in English;
"(2) receive information from or contribute information
to the Government in English; and
"(3) be informed of or be subject to official orders
"(c) RESTRICTIONS.--No entity to which this chapter
applies shall make or enforce an official act that requires the use of
a language other than English.
"§ 164. Antidiscrimination provisions
"Any person in the United States discriminated against
solely because the person communicates to the Government in English shall
be considered to have been discriminated against on the basis of national
origin, and all lawful remedies available under section 701 of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e) shall be available to a person so
"§ 165. Standing
"Any resident of the United States (including a corporation)
alleging a violation of this chapter shall have standing to sue in the
courts of the United States under sections 2201 and 2202 of title 28, United
States Code, and for such other relief as may be considered appropriate
by the courts (including attorneys' fees under section 2412 of title 28,
United States Code, or similar statutes).
"§ 166. Definitions
For purposes of this chapter:
"(1) GOVERNMENT.--The term 'Government' means all
branches of the Government of the United States and all employees and officials
of the Government of the United States while performing official acts.
"(2) OFFICIAL.--The term 'official' means governmental
actions, documents, or policies that are enforceable with full weight and
authority of the Government, but does not include--
"(A) actions, documents, or policies that are purely
informational or educational;
"(B) actions, documents, or policies that are not
enforceable in the United States;
"(C) actions that protect the public health or safety;
"(D) actions that protect the rights of victims of
crimes or criminal defendants; and
"(E) documents that utilize terms of art or phrases
from languages other than English".
(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.--The talbe of chapters for title
4, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new
SEC. 4. PREEMPTION.
SEC. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE.
This Act (and the amendments made by this Act) shall take
effect upon the date of the enactment of this Act, except that no suit
may be commenced to enforce or determine rights created by this Act (or
amendments) until the expiration of not less than 90 days after the date
of enactment of this Act.