PRINTER'S NO.  1206

  

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

  

SENATE BILL

 

No.

1052

Session of

2011

  

  

INTRODUCED BY McILHINNEY, RAFFERTY, FOLMER, VOGEL, FONTANA, WAUGH, FERLO, ALLOWAY, EARLL, SCARNATI, SOLOBAY, GORDNER, ARGALL, D. WHITE, KASUNIC, MENSCH AND BRUBAKER, MAY 10, 2011

  

  

REFERRED TO STATE GOVERNMENT, MAY 10, 2011  

  

  

  

AN ACT

  

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Providing for the English language as the official language of

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the Commonwealth.

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The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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hereby enacts as follows:

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Section 1.  Short title.

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This act shall be known and may be cited as the Official

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Language Act.

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Section 2.  Purpose.

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(a)  Purpose.--It is the purpose of this act to preserve,

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protect and strengthen the unifying role of English as the

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official language of the Commonwealth. English has been this

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nation's language by custom only and warrants special legal

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protection.

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(b)  Rights preserved.--This act shall not be construed to

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infringe on the rights of citizens, who have every right to

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choose their own primary language, in the use of language for

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private conduct, nor shall this act be used to dictate language

 


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policies for the operation and administration of organizations

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or businesses in the unregulated private sector.

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Section 3.  Definitions.

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The following words and phrases when used in this act shall

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have the meanings given to them in this section unless the

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context clearly indicates otherwise:

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"Official acts of government."  Any of the following:

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(1)  Actions of the Commonwealth and of its political

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subdivisions that carry the full weight and authority of law.

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(2)  Official documents recorded and maintained by the

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Commonwealth and its political subdivisions for the public

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domain, including tax records, professional licenses, deeds,

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real estate records, publicly probated wills and other

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documents of the court systems and public proceedings of the

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governing bodies of the Commonwealth and its political

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subdivisions.

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Section 4.  Designation of language of official acts.

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English is recognized as the official language of the

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Commonwealth and shall be designated as the language of official

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acts of government.

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Section 5.  Policies.

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The Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall make no

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policies expressing a preference for any language other than

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English or diminishing or ignoring the unifying role of English

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as designated under this act, subject to the limitations under

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section 7.

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Section 6.  Enforcement.

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(a)  General rule.--Elected and appointed officers of the

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Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall take all

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reasonable steps to ensure that the role of English as the

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official language is preserved and enhanced.

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(b)  Standing.--Any citizen of this Commonwealth shall have

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standing to bring an action against the Commonwealth or any of

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its political subdivisions to enforce this section.

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Section 7.  Limitations.

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The provisions of this act shall not apply to the following:

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(1)  When Federal law imposes contrary provisions.

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(2)  When the public safety, health or justice requires

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the use of other languages.

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(3)  Instruction in foreign language courses.

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(4)  Instruction designed to aid students with limited

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English proficiency in their transition and integration into

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the education system.

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(5)  The promotion of international commerce or tourism.

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(6)  The provision of interpretation for hearing impaired

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individuals in American Sign Language.

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Section 8.  Appropriations.

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The General Assembly and the governing bodies of its

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political subdivisions shall make no appropriation to promote

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the use of or demonstrate a preference for any language other

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than the official language, subject to the limitations under

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section 7.

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Section 20.  Effective date.

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This act shall take effect in 90 days.

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