by Bruce Barry
To date there are 30 states in the United States that have designated English an official language either in their state constitutions or by adopting a law. And none of those states, not a single one, prohibits the state government involved from using other languages for common sense, non-official reasons that serve the public interest. Typically those reasons are to protect public health and public safety, promote tourism, teach foreign languages, administer justice, handle emergencies, and similar needs.In contrast, the English-only measure being pushed here in Nashville clearly and expressly prohibits government from using other languages:
Official actions (those which bind or commit the government) shall be taken only in the English language, and all official government communications and publications shall be published only in English.Other municipalities may have laws requiring government communication in English, but virtually none use the word “only” to require that communication occur exclusively in English. Even wingnut nativists like ProEnglish grasp that basic principle (even as they promulgate the bizarre viewpoint that protecting public health and safety, administering justice, and handling emergencies are "non-official" government actions).