Bill making English official language begins legislative trek

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen brought back a bill often debated in the Legislature, to make English Minnesota’s official language.

“Learning the English language is essential,” the Alexandria Republican said. “The use of a common language removes barriers of misunderstanding and provides unity.”

Opponents say requiring English discriminates against those who speak other languages.

The Ingebrigtsen bill would require that government documents, meetings and other services and publications be in English. Driver’s license tests also would be in English, and would be required to be completed without an interpreter.

There are some exceptions, including the use of American Indian languages, and other languages may be used in private communications.

Ingebrigtsen said the bill would save governmental bodies that now pay to print material in several languages.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, has a similar bill in the House.

More than two-dozen states have similar bills.

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