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A04333 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2015-2016 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 30, 2015
        Introduced by M. of A. DiPIETRO -- read once and referred to the Commit-
          tee on Governmental Operations
        AN  ACT  to amend the state law, in relation to making English the offi-
          cial language of New York state
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1. The state law is amended by adding a new article 9 to read
     2  as follows:
     3                                  ARTICLE 9
     4                           OFFICIAL STATE LANGUAGE
     5  Section 130. Legislative findings and intent.
     6          131. Short title.
     7          132. Official state language.
     8    § 130. Legislative findings and intent. The legislature  hereby  finds
     9  that,  the state is comprised of individuals from many ethnic, cultural,
    10  and linguistic backgrounds, and continues  to  benefit  from  this  rich
    11  diversity. Throughout the history of New York and the United States, the
    12  common  thread binding individuals of differing backgrounds has been the
    13  English language. Command  of  the  English  language  is  necessary  to
    14  participate  in and take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by
    15  American life. Absent a rudimentary command  of  the  English  language,
    16  citizens  of  this  state are not able to make their voices heard in the
    17  legislative process, effectively exercise their right to vote, or  fully
    18  understand  the  rights  afforded them by the United States and New York
    19  Constitutions. Such citizens also have a  more  difficult  time  finding
    20  gainful  employment, affordable housing, health insurance, and otherwise
    21  availing themselves of the full benefits of American life for themselves
    22  and their families.
    23    § 131. Short title. This act shall be known and may be  cited  as  the
    24  "New York state English language empowerment act".
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 4333                             2
     1    § 132. Official state language. English shall be the official language
     2  of  the  government  of  the state of New York. 1. The state of New York
     3  shall conduct all official business of this state in English. All  offi-
     4  cial  documents,  regulations, orders, and publications shall be printed
     5  in  English  and  all  official  programs,  meetings,  transactions, and
     6  actions conducted by or on behalf of this state and  all  its  political
     7  subdivisions shall be in English.
     8    2.  a.  Other  languages  may  be used by government officials, and in
     9  official documents, whenever necessary to:
    10    (i) protect the health, safety, or liberty of any citizen;
    11    (ii) teach or study other languages;
    12    (iii) protect the rights of criminal  defendants  or  the  victims  of
    13  crime;
    14    (iv) promote trade, tourism, or commerce;
    15    (v) facilitate activities pertaining to the compilation of any census;
    16    (vi)  comply  with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education
    17  Act;
    18    (vii) use proper names, terms of art, or phrases from  language  other
    19  than English; or
    20    (viii)  comply  with the Constitution and laws of the United States of
    21  America, or the state constitution.
    22    b. Except in exigent circumstances, when an official government  docu-
    23  ment  is  translated  into  any  language  other than English under this
    24  section, an English translation will also be provided in the same  docu-
    25  ment, appearing in such a manner as to afford the reader the opportunity
    26  to observe the English translation of all phrases used.
    27    3. Nothing in this section shall be construed to:
    28    a.  diminish  the  usage  of,  prevent the study or development of, or
    29  discourage the use of, any Native American language in  any  context  or
    30  for any purpose;
    31    b.  prohibit  any  elected  official  from speaking to any person in a
    32  language other than English while campaigning or  providing  constituent
    33  services,  although such officials are encouraged to use English as much
    34  as possible to promote fluency in English;
    35    c. disparage any language or discourage any person  from  learning  or
    36  using any language;
    37    d.  prohibit  informal  and  nonbinding translations or communications
    38  among or between representatives of government and other persons if this
    39  activity does not affect or impair supervision, management,  conduct  or
    40  execution  of  official actions and if the representatives of government
    41  make clear that these translations or communications are unofficial  and
    42  are  not binding on the state or any political subdivision of the state;
    43  or
    44    e. prohibit individuals from utilizing translation  methods  of  their
    45  own  provision to communicate with an official government agent or enti-
    46  ty.
    47    4. As used in this section, "official" means any government action  or
    48  document that binds the government, is required by law, or is authorized
    49  by law.
    50    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
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