The Michigan Legislature’s Government Operations Committee held its first meeting of the year on Tuesday, June 20, and among the topics discussed was the state’s Official English bill H.B. 4053. If passed, Michigan would become the 33rd state to recognize English as its official language.

H.B. 4053 was sponsored and introduced by Rep. Tom Barrett of Michigan’s 71st district for the 2017 legislative session in January, at which point it was referred to committee. In addition to Rep. Barrett, cosponsors for H.B. 4053 include Representatives Triston Cole, Aaron Miller, Gary Glenn, Lana Theis, Peter Lucido, Shane Hernandez and Lee Chatfield.

Like other Official English legislation enacted over the years, H.B. 4053 is a common sense measure meant to reinforce English as our common language and to set a standard of expectation that Government and society will do more to encourage and enable the learning of English for residents. Far from an exclusionary measure, H.B. 4053 simply makes it clear that English is the sole language that must be used and available for all Government business, official acts and public records. Clear common sense exceptions are made for consistency with all federal law, teaching in language classes, the promotion of commerce, tourism, sporting events and public events, and occasions where “public safety, health and justice” would be served by the use of a language other than English at the discretion of state and local agencies.

The complete text of H.B. 4053 can be viewed and downloaded in PDF format here.

Residents of Michigan can help make Official English in the state a reality by calling and writing their state representative directly to encourage support for H.B. 4053:

  • Click here for a page that will let you let you look up your representative by district number, or with your home address.
  • Click here for a quick and easy complete directory of all 110 members of the Michigan House of Representatives. Phone numbers, email addresses and links to their official websites are listed for them all.

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U.S. English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non-partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S. English, Inc. ( www.usenglish.org ) now has more than 2 million members.