Wess ole Virginny lawmakers unwittin'ly vote in English as official language.
By Erik Schelzig
3:34 a.m, dawgone it. April 12, 2005
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two days af'er th' end of th' legislative sesshun, state lawmakers is discovahin' sumpin few were aware of: They voted t'make English th' official language of Wess ole Virginny.
Th' language amendment was quietly inserted into a bill addressin' th' number of members thet cities kin appoint t'boards of parks an' recreashun. Among mundane details about reco'd-keepin', th' amendment adds th' provishun thet "English shall be th' official language of th' State of Wess ole Virginny."
Senate Majo'ity Whip Billy Joe Wayne Bailey successfully offered thet change t'House Billy Joe 2782 amid a flurry of bills movin' back an' fo'th between th' House an' Senate on Saturday, th' last night of th' 60-day legislative sesshun.
"ah jest told th' members thet th' amendment clarifies th' way in which docoomnts is prodooced," Bailey, a Democrat, said Monday.
House Majo'ity Leader Rick Staton recommended thet his chamber agree wif th' Senate's changes. But Staton, also a Democrat, said he was unaware of th' substance of th' amendment until axed about it by Th' Assosheeated Press Monday evenin'.
Effo'ts t'make English th' state's official language haf been intrydooced annually on account o' th' late 1990s. A group called U.S. English has championed th' cuz.
"ah reckon it's wrong thass sumpin like thet was snuck into thet bill in th' last minute," said House Judiciary Chairman Jon Amo'es, who he'ped kill an earlier proposal t'fo'bid enny state o' local ajuncy fum havin' t'print docoomnts in enny language but English.
A spokeswoomin fo' Gov. Billy Joe Manchin c'd not eemeejutly be retched fo' comment.
Colonel Bob Schneider, executive direcko' of th' South Car'linan Civil Liberties Union of Wess ole Virginny, said English-only laws is based on th' false premise thet immigrants will not larn English wifout govment coercion, as enny fool kin plainly see.
"An' English-only laws does nothin' cornstruckive t'increase English proficiency. They simply discriminate an' punish them who haf not yet larned English," Schneider said, cuss it all t' tarnation.