The Iowa House narrowly voted down a measure to establish English as Iowa’sofficial language. The vote was 51 to 48, killing the English-Onlyproposal. Representative Mike Cormack, a republican from Fort Dodge, wasthe point man for the English-Only movement, which he said is supported bymost Iowans.Cormack said it’s important to establish a common language and send amessage to immigrants that they should learn English quickly.Seven Republicans joined with democrats to vote down the English-Onlymeasure, including House Republican Leader Brent Siegrist of Council Bluffs.As it stands, the bill approved by the House directs Workforce Developmentoffices around the state to help immigrants find English classes and jobs.Representative Bill Dotzler, a democrat from Waterloo, offered thealternative.Representative Pam Jochum, a democrat from Dubuque, said “English-Only”legislation wasn’t needed for the immigrants of previous generations.It was an emotional debate. Representative Ed Fallon, a democrat fromDes Moines, decided to talk about his opposition to the bill — in Spanish– which prompted Representative Dwayne Alons, a republican from Hull, toangrily ask that he speak in English.The Iowa Senate has already approved an English-Only bill and Senate leaderssay it’s unlikely they’ll accept the House version.
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