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Second English bill by Oklahoma Rep. Randy Terrill wins backing

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: April 7, 2009
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A legislator driving to make English the official language got an identical version of his proposal approved Monday by a House panel, a move he hopes will head off a similar but less restrictive measure.

Rep. Randy Terrill, despite objections from Democratic members on the House Judiciary Committee, was able to gut a Senate bill and insert text that called for voters to decide whether to make English the state’s official language.

Terrill, R-Moore, said Senate Bill 1120 — which originally had to do with adding law enforcement groups to those that can hold closed meetings — would be insurance against a "competing sham English bill,” SB 1156, which is scheduled to be taken up later this week by a House committee.

Terrill’s earlier bill, House Joint Resolution 1042, already has won approval in the House and by a Senate committee. It would call for an election to let voters decide whether to allow materials by state agencies to only be printed in English. Under SB 1156 , state agencies would not be required to publish materials in other languages.