S01582 Summary:

Add Art 9 SS130 - 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.
Go to top    

S01582 Actions:

Go to top

S01582 Committee Votes:

Go to top

S01582 Floor Votes:

There are no votes for this bill in this legislative session.
Go to top

S01582 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2015-2016 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                    January 13, 2015
        Introduced  by Sen. NOZZOLIO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern-
          ment 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.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 1582                             2
     1    §  131.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as the
     2  "New York state English language empowerment act".
     3    § 132. Official state language. English shall be the official language
     4  of  the  government  of  the state of New York. 1. The state of New York
     5  shall conduct all official business of this state in English. All  offi-
     6  cial  documents,  regulations, orders, and publications shall be printed
     7  in English  and  all  official  programs,  meetings,  transactions,  and
     8  actions  conducted  by  or on behalf of this state and all its political
     9  subdivisions shall be in English.
    10    2. a. Other languages may be used  by  government  officials,  and  in
    11  official documents, whenever necessary to:
    12    (i) protect the health, safety, or liberty of any citizen;
    13    (ii) teach or study other languages;
    14    (iii)  protect  the  rights  of  criminal defendants or the victims of
    15  crime;
    16    (iv) promote trade, tourism, or commerce;
    17    (v) facilitate activities pertaining to the compilation of any census;
    18    (vi) comply with the federal Individuals with  Disabilities  Education
    19  Act;
    20    (vii)  use  proper names, terms of art, or phrases from language other
    21  than English; or
    22    (viii) comply with the Constitution and laws of the United  States  of
    23  America, or the state constitution.
    24    b.  Except in exigent circumstances, when an official government docu-
    25  ment is translated into any  language  other  than  English  under  this
    26  section,  an English translation will also be provided in the same docu-
    27  ment, appearing in such a manner as to afford the reader the opportunity
    28  to observe the English translation of all phrases used.
    29    3. Nothing in this section shall be construed to:
    30    a. diminish the usage of, prevent the  study  or  development  of,  or
    31  discourage  the  use  of, any Native American language in any context or
    32  for any purpose;
    33    b. prohibit any elected official from speaking  to  any  person  in  a
    34  language  other  than English while campaigning or providing constituent
    35  services, although such officials are encouraged to use English as  much
    36  as possible to promote fluency in English;
    37    c.  disparage  any  language or discourage any person from learning or
    38  using any language;
    39    d. prohibit informal and  nonbinding  translations  or  communications
    40  among or between representatives of government and other persons if this
    41  activity  does  not affect or impair supervision, management, conduct or
    42  execution of official actions and if the representatives  of  government
    43  make  clear that these translations or communications are unofficial and
    44  are not binding on the state or any political subdivision of the  state;
    45  or
    46    e.  prohibit  individuals  from utilizing translation methods of their
    47  own provision to communicate with an official government agent or  enti-
    48  ty.
    49    4.  As used in this section, "official" means any government action or
    50  document that binds the government, is required by law, or is authorized
    51  by law.
    52    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
Go to top