A bill establishing English as the “official language” of Iowa government cleared the state Senate early this morning. Senator Steve King, a republican from Kiron, says it’s “simple, common sense policy.” King says a common language is a nation’s “binding thread.” Senator Mike Connolly, a democrat from Dubuque, says the bill’s unnecessary. Connolly says if Iowa survived 200 years without an official language – there is no need for it today. Senator Steve Hansen, a democrat from Sioux City, says the bill’s “toothless.” Senator Johnnie Hammond, a democrat from Ames, was a “no” vote on the bill. Hammond says the bill will only hurt people. The bill passed the Senate on a 27 to 23 vote shortly after midnight. The bill now goes to the House, where it was tabled last year. Governor Tom Vilsack says he’s willing to accept the bill if it includes help for immigrants who want to learn English.
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