State representatives agreed Thursday to ask voters to once again declare English the state’s official language.
The 34-22 vote came despite claims by foes that the proposed constitutional amendment reflected everything from an anti-immigrant attitude to the fear by the currently white majority of Arizona’s demographic changes.
Rep. David Bradley, DTucson, compared the move to promote what he described as “purity of language’’ to the conditions that led to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis.
But Rep. Marian McClure, R-Tucson, rejected the contention that her vote for HCR2031 was racist.
McClure said she welcomes all newcomers to this country.
“All I really care about is they, anyone that comes to this country wants very badly to accept the American way of life,’’ she said. “The American way of life includes learning the language.’’
Thursday’s vote sends the proposal to the Senate. If approved there, the measure will appear on the November ballot.
Arizonans approved a similar measure in 1988 by a narrow margin. But that never took effect, with the state Supreme Court eventually ruling it violated the constitutional rights of public officials and employees because it interfered with their ability to communicate with constituents and customers.
The revised proposal spells out that informal communications — even correspondence on official stationery — can be conducted in any language.
But it would require official acts be done only in English.
Exactly what would be affected if the measure is adopted by voters is not exactly clear.