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Arizona English Official Language Amendment, Proposition 106 (1988)

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The Arizona English as the Official Language Amendment, also known as Proposition 106, was on the November 8, 1988 ballot in Arizona as an initiated constitutional amendment. It was approved by voters, but struck down as unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court ten years later.

This amendment sought to create Article XXVIII to make English the official language of the state.[1]

Aftermath

English would again become the official language of Arizona after Proposition 103 was approved by voters in 2006.

Election results

Arizona Proposition 106 (1988)
OverturnedotOverturned Case:Ruiz v. Hull CV-96-0493-PR
ResultVotesPercentage
Yes 584,459 50.50%
No572,80049.50%

Official results via: Arizona Secretary of State

Text of measure

The text of the ballot read:

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

OFFICIAL TITLE

Proposing an amendment to the constitution of Arizona relating to the English language; providing that English is the official language of the state of Arizona, and amending the constitution of Arizona by adding article XXVIII.

DESCRIPTIVE TITLE

Amending Arizona constitution making English the official language of this state and all political subdivisions; requiring all governmental actions, functions and documents to be in English; providing exceptions for compliance with federal law, language instruction, protecting public health and safety and protecting criminal defendants and victims of crimes.[1]

Constitutional changes

ARTICLE XXVIII. ENGLISH AS THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

1.English as the Official Language; Applicability.
Section 1. (1) The English language is the official language of the State of Arizona.
(2) As the official language of this State, the English language is the language of the ballot, the public schools and all government functions and actions.
(3) (a) This Article applies to:
(i) the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government
(ii) all political subdivisions, departments, agencies, organizations, and instrumentalities of this State, including local governments and municipalities,
(iii) all statutes, ordinances, rules, orders, programs and policies.
(iv) all government officials and employees during the performance of government business.
(b) As used in this Article, the phrase “This State and all political subdivisions of this State” shall include every entity, person, action or item described in this Section, as appropriate to the circumstances.
2. Requiring This State to Preserve, Protect and Enhance English.
Section 2. This State and all political subdivisions of this State shall take all reasonable steps to preserve, protect and enhance the role of the English language as the official language of the State of Arizona.
3. Prohibiting This State from Using or Requiring the Use of Languages Other Than English; Exceptions.
Section 3. (1) Except as provided in Subsection(2);
(a) This State and all political subdivisions of this State shall act in English and in no other language.
(b) No entity to which this Article applies shall make or enforce a law, order, decree or policy which requires the use of a language other than English.
(c) No governmental document shall be valid, effective or enforceable unless it is in the English language.
(2) This State and all political subdivisions of this State may act in a language other than English under any of the following circumstances:
(a) to assist students who are not proficient in the English language, to the extent necessary to comply with federal law, by giving educational instruction in a language other than English to provide as rapid as possible a transition to English.
(b) to comply with other federal laws.
(c) to teach a student a foreign language as a part of a required or voluntary educational curriculum.
(d) to protect public health or safety,
(e) to protect the rights of criminal defendants or victims of crime.
4. Enforcement; Standing.
Section 4. A person who resides in or does business in this State shall have standing to bring suit to enforce this Article in a court of record of the State. The Legislature may enact reasonable limitations on the time and manner of bringing suit under this subsection.[1]

Lawsuits

The resulting amendment from Proposition 106 was ruled unconstitutional by the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit in 1995, in the case Yniguez v. Mofford. That case was ruling was vacated by the United States Supreme Court in Arizonans for Official English V. Arizona in 1997 on grounds unrelated to the constitutionality of the amendment. In 1998 the Arizona Supreme Court stuck down the amendment as unconstitutional in the case Ruiz v. Hull.

See also

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