Yee introduces language discrimination bill

April 1, 2009 11:45:36 PM PDT
There is a move in Sacramento to protect people in California from language discrimination. Basically, to further guarantee the rights of people who don't speak English.

Because the English-only policy was seen as being discriminatory against the Korean players, the LPGA backed down shortly after the uproar last summer.

To make sure that doesn't happen again, State Senator Leland Yee wants to include the word "language" as a protected characteristic under the Jesse Unruh Civil Rights Act along with race, sex, religion and other categories.

"All of us should learn English and we should use English. But no one should force us to use English. And that is the basis of whether or not we going to get served," said San Francisco Senator Leland Yee.

That means business owners in diverse-filled California cannot force anyone who's not an employee to speak English just because the owner doesn't like it.

"I understand that some people are discriminated against because of the way they speak or being unable to speak English, but once again, this is more nanny government and more government trying to tell businesses what do," said Meredith Turney from Capitol Resource Family Impact.

Over at Tony's Deli, a popular sandwich shop near the Capitol, the owner supports allowing anyone at his shop to speak any language -- customers, employees and workers hired by outside contractors. But he's not sure that should be regulated.

"You don't need to have a law. It's all common sense. God bless you. There's other more important isues to be dealing with, instead of dealing with somebody speaking a different language," said business owner Elias Silhi

Senator Yee says the numerous anti-immigrant voicemails and emails he's received is proof his proposal is needed.

Exerpts of the voicemail said: "Stop coming to our country to try and change everything to fit what you want. We like it the way it is. I you don't like it, you pack your bags and you go home."

The full Senate is expected to vote on the proposal later this month. If it becomes law and the LPGA decided to reinstate its English-Only rule, the association would not be able to hold tournaments in California.


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