Nashville city council approves resolution making English official language

[JURIST] Nashville is set to conduct all official business in the English language after the Nashville City Council voted 23-14 Tuesday to amend the City Charter [text] to declare English the official language of the city government. Mayor Bill Purcell is consulting with city attorneys [Tennessean report] to determine whether to sign, veto, or take no action on the bill. He has ten days to act before the resolution automatically becomes law.

The resolution [text] contains an exception for when speaking a language other than English is "required by federal law or when necessary to protect or promote public health, safety or welfare." Opponents of the resolution say this exception would render the resolution a merely symbolic act, albeit one that alienates the immigrant population of Nashville. Nashville has the nation's largest Kurdish community and the city's foreign-born population has increased 350 percent since 1990. It is said to be the first US state capital to adopt an official English law.

The Tennessee Code has already established English as the official language of the State of Tennessee. According to Tennessee Code Annotated 4-1-404 [text]:

English is hereby established as the official and legal language of Tennessee. All communications and publications, including ballots, produced by governmental entities in Tennessee shall be in English, and instruction in the public schools and colleges of Tennessee shall be conducted in English unless the nature of the course would require otherwise.
AP has more.

 

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