State law makes English the common language of Missouri. A constitutional amendment on the ballot tomorrow would make that official.
Legislators in the 90s declared English as the common language in Missouri. Legislators now have asked voters to make it the official language, the language of public proceedings.
Rep. Brian Nieves (R-Washington) sponsored the House Joint Resolution that placed Constitutional Amendment One and the ballot. Nieves says the controversy over making English the language of government surprised him. He says he at first thought it could be placed on the consent calendar, reserved for non-controversial issues.
Nieves objects to two criticisms of the issue. One that it is designed to bring out the "bigot vote". Nieves points out that his family is from Puerto Rico. He denies the measure is designed for anything but making English the language of official proceedings in the state. Nieves also objects to characterizing the issue as an English-only measure. He says it is not, that English-only is a totally different issue.
Rep. Mike Talboy (R-Kansas City) calls the measure ridiculous and unnecessary. Talboy argues that no governmental body in the state has attempted to conduct business in another language. He says this might be an issue for Texas cities on the Mexican border, but not in Missouri. Talboy says the issue is a political ploy by Republicans, attempting to get their socially conservative base to the polls.