» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News
X

Forgot your password?
TDN Services
Research millions of people and properties [+]
Monitor any person, property or company [+]

Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 123 | NO. 77 | Friday, April 18, 2008

GOP Fails to Add English Requirement to Unrelated House Bill

By ERIK SCHELZIG | Associated Press Writer

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Comments ()

NASHVILLE (AP) - House Republicans failed Thursday in an attempt to attach a proposal to allow employers to require workers to speak English to an unrelated bill about sewage systems.

The House voted 51-46 to reject the amendment sponsored by Rep. Matthew Hill, a Jonesborough Republican. A similar measure had previously passed the Senate but failed in a House subcommittee last month.

"It devalues our language and our culture … when you tell the owner of a mom-and-pop business here in the state of Tennessee that he cannot create a rule to require his employees to speak the English language," Hill said.

Rep. Brenda Gilmore, a Nashville Democrat and the sponsor of the sewage proposal, said she was unaware that Hill would try to add the English requirement to her bill.

Hill's amendment was killed largely along party lines, with all 51 votes against the proposal coming from Democrats. The 44 Republicans supporting the measure were joined by Democratic Reps. John Mark Windle, of Livingston, and Eddie Yokeley, of Greeneville.

Republican colleagues congratulated Hill with handshakes after his amendment was defeated. Gilmore's original bill then passed on a 96-0 vote.

House Majority Leader Gary Odom criticized Hill for failing to discuss the amendment filed shortly before the floor session with Gilmore before offering it.

"If we're going to be serious about public policy and offer amendments, you ought to speak to the sponsor of the bill," said Odom, D-Nashville.

House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol, said Hill's amendment didn't violate House rules and that members need to be able to "make decisions sometimes on the fly, if that's what's necessary."

"Issues important to the people we all represent may come up at the last minute," Mumpower said of the English-only measure, which was first introduced at the beginning of the session in January.

But Odom argued that attempts to revive legislation killed in committees through floor amendments could delay the conclusion of the 105th General Assembly.

"We can play these games for the next few weeks we'll be in session," said Odom. "That's going to make the days a lot longer, and a lot harder."

The Senate in March unanimously passed the English requirement bill sponsored by Sen. Jack Johnson, a Brentwood Republican, after a legal opinion requested from the state attorney general found that the proposal would meet constitutional standards.

The House version sponsored by Hill died in a House subcommittee when the motion for passage did not receive a second.

The proposal would continue to allow workers to speak other languages while on break or off the clock.

Read HB3896 and SB2849 on the General Assembly's Web site at: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 20 39 190
BUILDING PERMITS 0 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 17 135 753
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 53 329
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0