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Should English be the Official Language in Pa.?

A bill has been introduced that would establish English as the official language for conducting government business in the commonwealth.

Should Pennsylvania have an official language? And should it be English?

At least one state representative thinks so. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-12th) has introduced a bill in the state House of Representatives that would establish English as the official language of Pennsylvania.

“Time and time again, history has demonstrated that the English language is one of the strongest and most fundamental ties uniting all American citizens,” Metcalfe said. “Pennsylvania taxpayers simply cannot afford, and should not continue to be required, to foot the bill for government translating and printing infinite amounts of forms, documents and publications in many languages other than English.” 

Metcalfe’s bill would not preclude anyone from learning or speaking any other language, but would require that all official state and local government business be conducted in English. That would include all printed official documents.

“Making English the official language of Pennsylvania offers a powerful incentive for immigrants to learn English,” Metcalfe said.

Some 31 states have established English as their official language, making Pennsylvania one of only 19 states that does not have an official language.

House Bill 2132 will next head to the House State Government Committee for consideration.

Would you support legislation making English the official language in Pennsylvania? Let us know in the comments below.


Harriet Laurin April 25, 2014 at 12:29 AM
@Janis - Well, I guess you have the answer - everyone must get "help from friends and family". And if not, they'll just have to hope they'll find a kind person who can communicate in their language until that non-English speaking immigrant can figure out how to learn English without any help. Generations before ours have all had these problems? Yeah, more recent generations, but the world is different now. You can't very easily saddle your horse, ride out into the wilderness and make a land stake. There are no free government-authorized free land giveaways. And try landing a job without proper documentation these days, as many immigrants were able to do in the past. (Don't get me wrong, I think everyone ought to have some ID and/or documentation; my point is, that a hundred years ago, ID wasn't necessary the way it is now to find a job). Every generation of immigration has faced challenges of one sort or another. And I know that people appreciate things more when they earn them; but sometimes, people need at least a helping hand, a pointer in the right direction, just to get the basic tools so they can then take over their future for themselves. The legislation, as proposed, wouldn't even allow for the state government to print a bulletin-board flyer in a non-English language telling readers where they could go to learn how to read English. My arguments are not the same; I am not saying the same individuals should be perpetually catered to - just that as individuals arrive, we ought to be able to point them in the right direction (as in, go here to learn English, etc.) so they have a chance of learning to become productive members of our society.
cheryl April 28, 2014 at 02:52 PM
I totally agree! it's about time!!
ed auble April 28, 2014 at 05:07 PM
Consider the wellspring of this bill and his bias. Consider how much more difficult it would be for immigrants to get integrated into American society. They don't get integrated because folks of Metcalfe's ilk help them, 'cause he doesn't. They learn English because it is the de facto language of this country and learning English provides employment opportunities otherwise unavailable to them. Ask my son-in-law who came to this country from South America just a few years ago, learned English and got his master's degree. Do you really think that Mr. Metcalfe is concerned about the cost of printing some basic forms in multiple languages. Remember when voting taxes were the law in the South? Habla espanol, Senor Metcalfe?
Carl W April 29, 2014 at 06:56 PM
State Law, per 1779: English IS the official language. We wish it would be enforced.
Carl W April 29, 2014 at 06:59 PM
This was English vs. German. English won, & not just in gov't, for the whole state.

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