Bill circulating to make English official language in Wisconsin

By Patrick Lynn

Three Republican senators have resurrected a bill that would make English the official language in Wisconsin.

Sens. Andre Jacque (DePere), Dave Craig (Big Bend), and Steve Nass (Whitewater) began circulating the bill for co-sponsors Monday. It’s a third go-around for the bill, which was introduced by Democratic former state Rep. Marlin Schneider in 2009, but the proposal didn’t get a hearing.

Jacque and Craig introduced the bill again in 2013, arguing that English fluency would increase employment opportunities for immigrants. Again, the bill never got a hearing.

Under the proposal, all state and local government communication to be written in English. Under some circumstances, other languages would be permitted to communicate health and safety issues or the protection of a criminal defendant’s rights.

If the proposal becomes law, it would make Wisconsin the 33rd state to declare English as the official language.