The Missouri House International Trade and Job Creation Committee, chaired by Rep. Jerry Nolte (R-33rd), approved both HB 1186 and HB 1147 last week by a vote of 8 to 4. The bills are now on their way to the House floor for an up-or-down vote and your calls are needed TODAY!
HB 1147 and HB 1186, sponsored by Reps. Chuck Gatschenberger and Mark Parkinson, would require that driver's license written and skills portions of the exams are administered in no languages other than English. The bill also rightly prohibits the use of interpreters for any portion of the exam. HB 1186 allows an exception for interpreters for those who use sign-language. These two bills are among the strongest of its kind that have been introduced throughout the country, namely because both bills prohibit the use of interpreters.
Even though Missouri's voters passed an amendment to the state constitution by a landslide vote of 86.3% in 2008 to make English the state's official language, Missouri continues to give driver's license exams in 11 foreign languages other than English, including Bosnian, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
HB 1147 and HB 1186 will help to close this dangerous loophole in the official English law.
Speaker of the House Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, mentioned this public safety bill as one of his top priorities of 2012 during his opening day speech, so the vote could occur as soon as this week!