Session of 1997
SENATE BILL No. 219
By Senators Huelskamp, Becker, Bleeker, Brownlee, Clark, Emert,
Har- denburger, Harrington, Harris, Jordan, Lawrence, Ranson,
Sallee, Sal- mans, Schraad, Steffes, Tyson and Umbarger
11 AN ACT designating English as the official language of the state of Kansas
12 and concerning its use by state agencies and political subdivisions.
14 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
15 Section 1. (a) English shall be designated as the official language of
16 the state of Kansas.
17 (b) The official language is designated as the language of any official
18 public document or record and any official public meeting:
19 (1) An official public document or record is any document officially
20 compiled, published or recorded by the state including deeds, publicly
21 probated wills, records of births, deaths and marriages and any other
22 document or record required to be kept open for public inspection pur-
23 suant to the open records act.
24 (2) An official public meeting is any meeting required to be open
25 pursuant to K.S.A. 75-4317 et seq. and amendments thereto.
26 (c) Except as otherwise provided by law, no state agency or political
27 subdivision of the state shall be required to provide any documents, in-
28 formation, literature or other written materials in any language other than
30 Sec. 2. A state agency or political subdivision or its officers or em-
31 ployees may act in a language other than the English language for any of
32 the following purposes:
33 (a) To provide information orally to individuals in the course of de-
34 livering services to the general public;
35 (b) to comply with federal law;
36 (c) to protect the public health or safety;
37 (d) to protect the rights of parties and witnesses in a civil or criminal
38 action in a court or in an administrative proceeding;
39 (e) to provide instruction in foreign and native American language
41 (f) to provide instruction designed to aid students with limited Eng-
42 lish proficiency so they can make a timely transition to use of the English
43 language in the public schools;
1 (g) to promote international commerce, trade or tourism;
2 (h) to use terms of art or phrases from languages other than the Eng-
3 lish language in documents.
4 Sec. 3. A state agency or political subdivision, including its officers
5 or employees, acting under any of the provisions of section two shall
6 delineate as a separate budget line item in the agency, departmental or
7 office budget all costs related to the preparation, translation, printing and
8 recording of documents, records, brochures, pamphlets, flyers or other
9 informational materials in languages other than the official language.
10 Sec. 4. No person may be denied employment with the state or any
11 political subdivision of the state based solely upon that person's lack of
12 facility in a foreign language, except where related to bona fide job needs
13 reflected in the exemptions in section 3.
14 Sec. 5. This act may not be construed in any way to infringe upon
15 the rights of citizens under the constitution of the state of Kansas or the
16 constitution of the United States in the use of language in any private
17 activity. No agency or officer of the state or any political subdivision of
18 the state may place any restrictions or requirements regarding language
19 usage in any business operating in the private sector other than official
20 documents, forms, submissions or other communications directed to gov-
21 ernment agencies and officers, which communications shall be in the
22 common language as recognized in this act.
23 Sec. 6. This act may not be construed in any way to limit the use of
24 any other language by a tribal government of native Americans located in
25 the state of Kansas. A school district and a tribe, by mutual agreement,
26 may provide for the instruction of students that recognizes the cultural
27 identity of native American children and promotes the use of a common
28 language for communication.
29 Sec. 7. Any citizen of the state of Kansas has standing to bring an
30 action against the state to enforce this act. The circuit court has jurisdic-
31 tion to hear and decide any such action brought pursuant to this act.
32 Sec. 8. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its
33 publication in the statute book.