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Texas English Language Amendment (2011)

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Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
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The Texas English Language Amendment did not appear on the November 2011 general election ballot in the state of Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment.

The measure was pre-filed with the Texas Legislature before the legislative session started in January 2011. The bill, House Joint Resolution 38, would have made English the official language of the state and would also have required government business to be done in English. It was filed by State Representative Leo Berman, who said that the measure would also make all state documents published in English-only. The bill was filed on November 16, 2010.[1]

The 82nd session of the Texas State Legislature adjourned on May 30, 2011. However, Gov. Rick Perry called a special session of the Texas State Legislature that commenced May 31, 2011 in early June and adjourned June 29, 2011. Eight amendments were proposed during the special session, but none passed. Including this proposal.[2]

Text of amendment

Constitutional changes

The measure would have amended Article XVI of the Texas Constitution by adding Section 74 to read as follows:[3]

(a) In this section, "official act of government" means:
(1) an action of this state or a political subdivision of this state that carries the full weight and authority of law;
(2)an official document recorded or first maintained on or after December 1, 2011, by this state or a political subdivision of this state for the public domain, including a tax record, professional license, deed, real estate record, or publicly probated will or other document of a court system; or
(3)a public proceeding of a governing body of this state or a political subdivision of this state held on or after December 1, 2011.
(b)It is the purpose of this section to preserve, protect, and strengthen the unifying role of English as the official language of this state.
(c)English is the official language of this state and is the language of official acts of government.
(d)This state or a political subdivision of this state may not make any policy expressing a preference for any language other than English or diminishing or ignoring the unifying role of English as designated by this section, except as provided by Subsection (f).
(e)An elected or appointed officer of this state or a political subdivision of this state shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that the role of English as the official language of this state is preserved and enhanced.
(f)This section does not:
(1)supersede contrary provisions imposed under federal law;
(2)prohibit the use of another language for the public safety, health, or justice;
(3)prohibit instruction in foreign language courses;
(4)prohibit instruction designed to aid students with limited English proficiency in their transition and integration into the education system;
(5)prohibit the promotion of international commerce or tourism; or
(6)prohibit a court or an administrative agency from admitting into evidence or relying on a record that is from another jurisdiction and originally written in another language, if the court or agency determines the record is necessary for a proceeding or hearing.
(g)The Legislature or a governing body of a political subdivision of this state may not appropriate any money to promote the use of or demonstrate a preference for any language other than the official language, except as provided by Subsection (f).
(h)This section may not be:
(1)construed in any way to infringe on the rights of citizens, who have every right to choose their own primary language, in the use of language for private conduct; or
(2)used to dictate language policies for the operation and administration of organizations or businesses in the private sector.

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing direct democracy in Texas

As laid out in Article 17 of the Texas Constitution, in order for a proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot, the Texas State Legislature must propose the amendment in a joint resolution of both the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. The joint resolution can originate in either the House or the Senate. The resolution must be adopted by a vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature. That amounts to a minimum of 100 votes in the House of Representatives and 21 votes in the Senate.

See also

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