New Law Would Require English Only on Gov Docs

A bill passed out of committee Tuesday would require all official state documents in Indiana to be printed solely in English.

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Photo: IN.GOV

A new law would outlaw forms like this.

A bill passed out of committee Tuesday would require all official state documents in Indiana to be printed solely in English.

Evansville Representative Suzanne Crouch says her bill would simply bring the state into compliance with a 1984 law which says English is the state’s mother tongue. Though she couldn’t offer any numbers, Crouch says there will likely be some cost savings – a tenet of the bill she says her constituents will like.

“Well my constituents are from southwest Indiana,” she says, “and they’re very tight and so they certainly want us taking steps wherever we can to save tax dollars. And to the extent that this will do that, then they are very much in favor of that.”

But Indianapolis Representative Mary Ann Sullivan – one of only two no tallies in an 8 to 2 vote to send the bill to the House floor – asked Crouch whether documents are being printed in other languages and was told that there’s no way of knowing for sure.

“I feel like this bill is a solution in search of a problem,” she says. “I’m just reluctant to add additional language to state statute to address something I’m not really sure is a problem.”

Only Government and Regulatory Reform Chairman Phil Hinkle voted no alongside Sullivan.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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