Washington, DC—U.S.English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica today applauded West Virginia Delegate Lynwood “Woody” Ireland on the introduction of a bill to declare English the official language of the Mountain State.

H.B. 2573 would require that all official state business be conducted in English. The bill includes several exceptions, allowing for the government use of foreign languages to protect public health and safety, to teach or study foreign languages, in judicial situations and more. This legislation also allows government officials to communicate with constituents in foreign languages when necessary, while still encouraging communication in English to promote that all state residents become fluent.

“An overwhelming 93 percent of West Virginia residents believe English proficiency is necessary for residents of the state,” Chairman Mujica said. “Delegate Ireland’s Official English bill will help add an incentive for the state’s 13,000 limited English proficient individuals to learn the language of success. Furthermore, 87 percent of West Virginians support such legislation, recognizing the unifying value of a common, shared language. I commend Delegate Ireland on his leadership and encourage the West Virginia State Legislature to work diligently to pass this important policy for the good of all state residents.”

Passage of H.B. 2573 would make West Virginia the 32nd state in the United States to recognize the unifying role of the English language. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, where it awaits further action.

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.