CHAPTER 3-C (1995)

3-C:1 Official State Language

    I. The official language of the state of New Hampshire shall be English. English is designated as the language of all official public documents and records, and of all public proceedings and nonpublic sessions.

    II. For the purposes of this chapter, "official public documents and records" are all documents officially compiled, published, or recorded by the state.

    III. For the purposes of this chapter, "public proceedings and nonpublic sessions" mean those proceedings and sessions as defined in RSA 91-A, and includes the information recorded at such proceedings and sessions.

3-C:2 Exceptions

    The provisions of this chapter shall not apply:

      I. To all public proceedings between the state of New Hampshire and the province of Quebec when, in the opinion of the state administrator involved in such proceedings, it may be necessary to conduct such proceedings between Quebec and New Hampshire wholly or partially in French, and to use official public documents and records during the public proceedings, which are written wholly or partially in French.

      II. To instruction in foreign language courses, or other requirements of the state university system.

      III. To instruction designed to aid students with limited English in a timely transition and integration into the general education system.

      IV. To the promotion of international commerce, tourism, and sporting events.

      V. When deemed to interfere with needs of the justice system.

      VI. When the public good, public safety, health, or emergency services require the use of other languages.

      VII. When expert testimony or witnesses may require a language other than English; provided, however, that for purposes of deliberation, decision making, or recordkeeping, the official version of such testimony or commentary shall be the officially translated English-language version.

3-C:3 Employment

    No person shall be denied employment with the state or with any political subdivision of the state based solely upon the person's lack of facility in a foreign language, except when related to bona fide job needs reflected in the exceptions listed in RSA 3-C:2.

3-C:4 Construction

    This chapter shall not be construed in any way to infringe on the rights of citizens under the state constitution or the constitution of the United States in the use of language in activities or functions conducted in the private sector. No agency or officer of the state shall place any restrictions or requirements regarding language usage for businesses operating in the private sector other than in official documents, forms, submissions, or other communications directed to governmental agencies and officers, which communications shall be in English as recognized in this chapter.

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.