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Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's That You Say?

You'd think that the problems our legislators in Harrisburg have with corruption, highway and bridge repair, public school funding and shale gas extraction would leave them little time to indulge in silliness like this:

Two bills have been introduced in the Legislature to make English the "official" language of the Keystone State, meaning there no longer would be any state government pamphlets or publications printed in any other language.

The bills were introduced by Republicans, of course. Some of the rational given is patently absurd. Here's the sponser of House Bill 888, Scott Perry of York:

"How safe do you feel knowing you are driving your vehicle at 60 mph next to individuals operating vehicles up to 40 tons who have been licensed with minimal standards of English proficiency?

Ummm...they took a test to determine their eligibility for a CDL? What difference does it make if they took it in English or Spanish? How does the language of a test affect the ability to competently drive a truck? Street signs are fairly well standardized in the Americas, an ALTO sign and a STOP sign are both represented by red octagons and mean the same thing. Based on Mr. Perry's standards, US licensed drivers shouldn't be permitted to drive while in Mexico or Quebec.

Then, he gobbles his OTHER foot to the ankle:

"I question the state's right to force its taxpayers to subsidize ... elevated teaching costs and other elevation taxation costs ... for the sake of a minority of individuals" who don't speak English."

Because in Mr. Perry's little bubble of white privledge, no one other than English speakers pay taxes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania I suppose, and heaven forbid we use TAXPAYER DOLLARS to educate someone!

Most of the complaints from these elected officials seem to revolve around printing costs of multiple forms, yet they have no problem using my tax dollars to constantly e-mail me "Legislative Newsletters" tooting their own horns. Given the realities of modern communication and computing power, along with the ubiquitousness of desktop computers in gubmint offices, if printing costs were such a concern why not just make all the forms available online, in a multitude of languages? If someone doesn't have intertube access they could always pick a copy up at a government office where they're available pre-printed today, but in the future could be printed up as needed by the staff when requested?


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