Missouri English Official Language, Amendment 1 (2008)

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The Missouri English Official Language Amendment, also known as Amendment 1, was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Missouri as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

The amendment, first passed by the Missouri State Legislature as House Joint Resolution 7, established English as the official language for all government meetings where public business is discussed or decided or where public policy is formulated.[1]

Missouri became one of about 30 states with a similar law.[2][3]

Election results

Missouri Amendment 1 (2008)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 2,407,536 86.31%
No381,87413.69%

Election results via: Missouri Secretary of State - Elections Division

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[4]

Section A. Article I, Constitution of Missouri, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 34, to read as follows:

Section 34. That English shall be the language of all official proceedings in this state. Official proceedings shall be limited to any meeting of a public governmental body at which any public business is discussed, decided, or public policy formulated, whether such meeting is conducted in person or by means of communication equipment, including, but not limited to, conference call, video conference, Internet chat, or Internet message board. The term "official proceeding" shall not include an informal gathering of members of a public governmental body for ministerial or social purposes, but the term shall include a public vote of all or a majority of the members of a public governmental body, by electronic communication or any other means, conducted in lieu of holding an official proceeding with the members of the public governmental body gathered at one location in order to conduct public business.[5]

Support

Supporters included:

Arguments in Support

Notable arguments made in support of the measure included:

  • The amendment addresses the concern that we are becoming a country with too large a language barrier.

Opposition

Opponents included:

  • State Representative Maria Chappelle-Nadal, (D-16)[7]
  • Bishop Robert Finn of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph[8]
  • National Immigration Project[7]
  • Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA).[9]

Arguments in opposition

Notable arguments made in opposition included:

  • English is already the de facto language of meetings of governmental bodies throughout Missouri and there is no need to make this practice a constitutional requirement.
  • It could make immigrants who are trying to integrate into Missouri feel isolated.
  • It prevents local officials from making common sense exceptions when emergencies or other special occasions arise.

Media editorial positions

Support

  • The Kansas City Star said "The Star recommends a 'no' vote on Amendment 1 requiring English to be the language of governmental meetings."[10]

See also

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Suggest a link

External links

References