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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Legislation Would Require Written Driving Test To Be Taken In English

I couldn't find an active link to the article below from the Associated Press so I'm pasting it in so you can read it. Read it and let me know if this proposed legislation disturbs your or gives you a slight feeling of unease, as it did with me.

The Idaho Senate is considering a measure that would restrict the state's driver's license test to a written test in English only.

The test is currently available in eight languages. The measure was authored by Hayden Lake Republican Sen. Mike Jorgenson, a promoter of efforts to punish employers for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. His bill, among other things, would require employers use the federal "E-Verify" system to document workers' eligibility.

While that provision is being fought by Idaho's construction and dairy industries, it's the "English-only" restriction Jorgenson added this year that has refugee advocates concerned.

Jorgenson conceded he hadn't previously considered his measure's impact on legal immigrants, political refugees or even foreign students on educational exchanges. He has since said he won't insist on the English-only provision, if other lawmakers object.

Idaho now offers written tests in Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, Spanish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Farsi. At least 10 states now offer English-only drivers license tests: Utah, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Arizona, South Dakota, Wyoming, Maine, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arizona.

States like Kansas, South Dakota and Wyoming allow interpreters. But Idaho's measure, should it pass, would forbid such assistance. (AP)

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