Missouri English Official Language, Amendment 1 (2008)

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Missouri English Official Language, Constitutional Amendment 1 was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Missouri, 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]

Amendment 1 was approved. See 2008 ballot measure election results.

Election results

Missouri Constitutional Amendment 1 (English as Official Language)
Approveda Yes 2,407,536 86.3%

Official results via: Missouri Secretary of State - Elections Division

Official ballot title

The amendment's ballot title said, "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to add a statement that English shall be the language of all governmental meetings at which any public business is discussed, decided, or public policy is formulated whether conducted in person or by communication equipment including conference calls, video conferences, or Internet chat or message board?"


Supporters included:

Editorial Support:

  • * Missouri Family Network[4]

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.


Opponents included:

  • State Representative Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City[5]
  • Bishop Robert Finn of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph[6]
  • National Immigration Project[5]
  • Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates (MIRA).[7]
  • The Kansas City Star[8]

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.

See also

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