A05379 Summary:

COSPNSRHawley, McDonough, Salka, Lawrence, DeStefano
Add Art 9 §§130 - 132, State L
Enacts the New York state English language empowerment act which deems English the official language of the government of the state of New York.
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A05379 Actions:

02/11/2019referred to governmental operations
01/08/2020referred to governmental operations
03/10/2020held for consideration in governmental operations
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A05379 Committee Votes:

GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS Chair:Zebrowski DATE:03/10/2020AYE/NAY:10/4 Action: Held for Consideration

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A05379 Floor Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
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A05379 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    February 11, 2019
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  DiPIETRO, HAWLEY, McDONOUGH -- read once and
          referred to the Committee 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. 5379                             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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