House lawmakers want to make English the official language of Michigan.
Republicans led the way in passing a bill Thursday that would require its use in public records. State departments and local governments still could publish documents in other languages.
Rep. Tom Barrett, a Republican from Potterville, says Michigan is a diverse state. But he says diversity with "no shared values" drives people into their "own corners." He and other supporters say the bill will encourage assimilation.
Rep. Vanessa Guerra voted no. The Saginaw Democrat says the bill could isolate people whose English skills are limited. Another critic, Rep. David LaGrand of Grand Rapids, says it's a "dark moment" for the country if diversity is not embraced.
Rep. Guerra issued the following statement on the bill:
“The State House passed House Bill 4053 last Thursday that would mandate English as the language of Michigan. This bill was a waste of time and taxpayer dollars that serves to further ostracize those limited English speakers who already face incredible barriers in their everyday encounters. I’m disappointed that the bill sponsor and some of my colleagues were more focused on scoring political points than making our roads better, schools stronger and our communities safer. In the end, this bill will save no money nor have any real benefit to our government, but instead belittles the massive contributions immigrant families and limited English speakers have made in developing our great state that we all call home.”
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