Four legislators introduced a measure to make English the official language of West Virginia last week, improving the potential for passage of official English legislation in several states this year. Delegates Lynwood Ireland, Bill Hamilton, William Romine and Carol Miller have proposed H.B. 2106, which would declare English as the official language of the state and clarify that state agencies are not required to provide information in languages other than English, except where required by existing law. The bill has been referred to the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee.
In 2004, the West Virginia Senate passed an official English bill by a margin of 30-3. The following year, both the House and Senate voted to make English the official language, but it was vetoed by the governor in a procedural move.
To date, 30 states have made English the official language of state government. Oklahomans will vote on a constitutional amendment to make English the official language in November. West Virginia is the seventh state currently without a law to have official English legislation pending in 2010, joining Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.