Senate Republican Leader Ron Wieck of Sioux City says it appears the Iowa Department of Transportation broke the law by having a public hearing notice printed in the Sioux City Journal Thursday in both English and Spanish. A recent court ruling upheld Iowa’s English Only law saying voter registration forms should not be printed in languages other than English.
Former Sioux City legislator and current Congressman, Steve King, filed the lawsuit over the voter registration forms. Wieck says the D.O.T.hearing notice looks like it breaks the law. Wieck says it certainly appears that the D.O.T. notice goes against that court ruling. Wieck questions the D.O.T.spending extra money to print the notice in Spanish when the department says it is short of funds.
He says most of the legislative session one of the main topics was the "Time 21" study and the need for more infrastructure funding. Wieck says the extra funding request was met with the increase in license and registration fees. "I think that we ought to as a state agency, be more cautious about how we’re spending money, and not continue to spend money in the light that was spent in this particular situation," Wieck says.
Wieck says the D.O.T. should focus on meeting its infrastructure needs.Wieck says the state should devote every dollar that it possibly can to bring the infrastructure to the level that it needs to be. Iowa Department of Transportation spokesperson, Dena Gray-Fisher says the Attorney General is currently reviewing the ruling to see how it will apply to the department’s notices. She says the D.O.T. is waiting to hear from the A-G’s office before deciding to make any changes in the way it files public notices.
Iowa Secretary of State Michael Mauro said earlier this week that his office will not appeal a ruling which prohibits the state from providing voter registration forms in languages other than English. Senate Majority Leader, Mike Gronstal a Democrat from Council Bluffs, also said state lawmakers won’t try to repeal the English-only law in the foreseeable future. Governor Tom Vilsack signed the law in 2002 specifying that all official government documents be printed in English.