‘English’ license bill stopped in state House
Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 9:07 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — House Republicans failed Monday to revive legislation that would require Tennessee’s driver’s license test to be given only in English.
Republican Rep. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville tried to attach an amendment to an existing bill on the House floor. The proposal would have required individuals legally and temporarily in the United States to take the driver’s license test in one of four languages offered in Tennessee. Others would have to take the test in English.
However, lawmakers voted 51-40, mostly along party lines, to table the measure.
Last week, the House Budget Subcommittee voted 12-3 to defer similar legislation until December 2010, essentially killing the measure. The companion to that proposal passed the Senate 22-10 earlier this month.
Campfield said the legislation is intended to promote safety, “so people can actually read signs that say stop.”
“If you’re going to be on the road, I think people should understand those safety factors,” he said.
However, opponents say any proposal that restricts the test to English-only will hurt economic development in Tennessee.
“If you want to deter business in Tennessee, you vote for this,” said Rep. Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington. “This is a terrible amendment.”
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville agreed.
“This is a job killer bill,” he said.
Lawmakers against the proposal say the passage of such legislation in Tennessee may cause the state to suffer the same repercussions as Arizona, whose tourism industry is receiving a backlash from a sweeping law it recently passed targeting illegal immigration.
Its provisions include requiring police enforcing another law to question a person about his or her immigration status, if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the United States illegally. It also makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.
Read HB0262/SB0063 at http://www.capitol.tn.gov.
Published in The Messenger 5.18.10
English bill, Tennessee