Rep. Steve ‘Secession’ Smith revives English Only – seriously?


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

This guy, again. As I previously posted, "Rep. Steve "Secession" Smith (R-Maricopa) is determined to win the title of biggest asshole in the Arizona legislature. Dude, the title is yours! Now knock it off!" Rep. Steve 'Secession' Smith carries Russell Pearce's anti-immigrant bills.

The latest bit of assholery from Little Stevie is his revival of the age-old fight over "English Only." Seriously? It's like the movie "Groundhog Day" in Arizona — it's the same damn thing over and over again. Arizona ‘English only’ document plan touted:

The debate over providing government documents only in English is re-emerging at the Arizona Legislature, a controversial topic many thought had been resolved seven years ago with a successful ballot measure.

The House Government Committee on Tuesday passed House Bill 2283, which would forbid state agencies from mailing out certain documents in any language but English. It still needs a vote of the full House before moving on. But critics already warn it could violate the federal Civil Rights Act.

Sponsor Rep. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, who has introduced several anti-illegal-immigration measures this year and in previous years, said this bill is about saving money. He also said it reinforces Proposition 103, passed by voters in 2006 to make English the state’s official language and require that all “official government actions” be conducted in English. Even with its passage, many state documents continue to be printed in Spanish and other languages.

Arizona is among 28 states with laws declaring English their official language.

HB 2283 specifically says any document that a state agency is required to produce in a language other than English must be posted online and a printed copy must be made available in the agency office. Agencies would no longer mail out such documents.

It has an exception for “voting material,” but the new law could apply to documents such as applications for social services, driver’s license manuals and some information from schools.

“We don’t need to print, bind and ship everything an agency does at the taxpayers’ expense,” Smith said. “We’re spending millions of dollars a year on documents that would be fine printed in English only, as our (state) Constitution says.”

If you didn't catch it, what Little Stevie "Secession" Smith is really up to is trying to to limit access to the government and unduly burden those individuals who do not speak English fluently as their primary language — many of whom are American citizens, despite what Little Stevie may imagine in his fevered brain. Rep. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, called it bad public policy. “This is not about cost savings,” he said. “It’s about creating a barrier between government and the people we’re supposed to be serving.”

The 2006 measure was tailored more narrowly to focus only on official government actions, as opposed to acts that could include a state employee speaking Spanish to a resident.

“The bill as currently drafted is much broader than Rep. Smith suggests,” said attorney Ellen Katz with the William E. Morris Institute for Justice. “It violates Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act. Even in states that have an English-as-their-official-language policy, you still have to follow federal law.”

Title 6 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal funds. Katz said mailing out documents in English but not in other languages would violate that [under federal regulations, and court precedents.]

We already know that Little Stevie "Secession" Smith doesn't believe in federal supremacy under the U.S. Constitution, so he certainly doesn't believe in federal civil rights secured by the 14th Amendment.

Little Stevie tried to justify his bill saying "the bill follows the people’s will, proven when Prop. 103 passed with more than 70 percent of the vote." Well, Little Stevie, that's the thing about fundamental constitutional rights — these constituional rights are not subject to a vote by the majority seeking to deny a minority their fundamental rights. that''s what makes them "fundamental rights." Duh!

E.J. Montini at The Arizona Republic gets it exactly right when when he cautions that "whenever a politician talks about saving money it’s almost ALWAYS about something else, and he’s just hoping the money angle gets people to go along." No hablo discrimination:

In Arizona, English is the official language.

I get that. We ALL get it.

But that doesn’t mean Arizona citizens who may not be fluent in English are any less American.

Back where I was born there were quite a few immigrants who were adept other languages but not so well versed in English. My beloved grandparents, for instance. Many of my neighbors. All were good, hardworking Americans.

Smith says that we in Arizona are spending too much money on documents that aren’t printed in English.

Near as can tell, there no law in the United States makes it’s okay to discriminate against Americans in order to save money.

If anything, I believe the law, starting with the constitution, would indicate just the opposite.

Rep. Smith might like to read that.

I’m pretty sure he’d be able to do so.

It’s in English.

Well said.

UPDATE: Little Stevie "Secession" Smith's bill, if our Tea-Publican legislature and governor are foolish enough to enact it into law, will cost state agencies billions per year in federal dollars because it run afoul of the Civil Rights Act and federal guidelines. AZ ‘English only’ measure could cost the state federal money | Arizona Capitol Times. In addition, the ACLU said it was ripe for litigation and could possibly cost the state billions in withheld federal funds. "At the committee hearing, Smith dismissed concerns about losing federal money," because he is completely ignorant of the law.

“Title VI is not trumped (by Prop. 103), you still have to follow the federal law,” Ellen Katz, litigation director for the William E. Morris Institute for Justice, said. She said the bill would violate U.S. Department of Justice requirements that agencies receiving federal funds provide important documents in other commonly used languages in the same manner as they are provided in English. The way the bill is written, she said, it would prohibit state agencies from following Department of Justice guidelines.

Jennifer Carusetta, the chief legislative liaison for AHCCCS, backed Katz up. She said sending information to English speakers and making people who speak other languages go online or to a government office to get information could violate both Department of Justice guidelines and the Civil Rights Act, and that implementing the measure could put federal funds for AHCCCS in jeopardy.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


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