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Bill would make English official state language

Some documents printed in multiple languages would no longer be offered

MADISON, Wis. - A bill in the state Capitol aims to create an official language for the state of Wisconsin.

The proposal by Rep. Andre Jacque, R-DePere, would make English the official state language and say that some documents printed in multiple languages by places like local clerks offices or the DMV would no longer be offered.

"Certainly there are some cost savings that could result but really I think it is a reflection of the fact that there is widespread agreement regardless of where people are at on immigration reform or other issues that the key to success in finding the American dream is proficiency in English," said Jacque.

Madison's Spanish language radio station, La Movida, talked about the proposal on the air Wednesday morning. Their production assistant questioned whether there was even a need for the measure.

"Aside from saving money he wants immigrants to become better assimilated into society," said Ruben Barahona. "That's happening, and it has to happen because people understand when they come here that they have to learn the language."

Giovanni Cadena has been taking English classes at the Literacy Network for the past month. He says he's been doing it to help him get a professional training job rather than the cleaning job he has now.

"Part of the culture is to learn English," said Cadena. "If you go to China you have to learn Chinese. If you go to France you have to learn French."

Cadena, though, thinks the bill may be a good idea to push more people to learn the language like he is.

"Now wherever you go you get both sides [of a form] in Spanish and English," said Cadena. "But what happens when there's only one [language]? Then you have to learn."

Jacque expressed frustration that some have found irony in his introduction of the bill given his ethnic-sounding name. He says his mother was a French teacher and he is proficient in Spanish, but believes English should be the government's way to communicate.

Bill would make English official state language

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