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California Proposition 63, English is the Official Language Amendment (1986)

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California Proposition 63, or the English Is the Official Language of California Amendment, was on the November 4, 1986 ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was approved.
  • Yes: 5,138,577 (73.2%)
  • No: 1,876,639 (26.8%)

Proposition 63 declared that English is the official language of the State of California. It directed the California State Legislature to enact legislation to "preserve the role of English as the state's common language." It also prohibits the Legislature from "passing laws which diminish or ignore the role of English as the state's common language."

A federal lawsuit, Gutiérrez v. Municipal Court, was filed against Proposition 63 after it was enacted. As a result of the lawsuit, the Ninth Circuit ruled in 1988 that Proposition 63 was "largely symbolic."[1] A year later, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit's ruling.

Ballot summary

The official ballot summary said, "Provides that English is the official language of State of California. Requires Legislature to enforce this provision by appropriate legislation. Requires Legislature and state officials to take all steps necessary to ensure that the role of English as the common language of the state is preserved and enhanced. Provides that the Legislature shall make no law which diminishes or ignores the role of English as the common language. Provides that any resident of or person doing business in state shall have standing to sue the state to enforce these provisions."

Constitutional changes

California Constitution
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See also: Amending the California Constitution

Proposition 63 added a new Section 6 to Article III.

Fiscal impact

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said, "This measure would have no effect on the costs or revenues of the state and local governments."


  • Gutierrez v. Southeast Judicial Dist. Mun. Ct.. 838 F.2d 1031 (9th Cir . 1988)

See also

External links