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English as the official language?

March 9, 2009
State Rep. Lance Horbach (R-Tama)

OkI know you're thinking this is going to be an article about requiring both legal or illegal immigrants to speak English. No, this is about attorneys or legislators and their inability to say what they really mean! I spend every day reading newly proposed legislation, and every day I have to ask "What are you really trying to say?" Let me give you a couple of examples of my frustration:

Here's an amendment to the Private Cause of Action legislation, this was provided by the top attorney in the state, the Attorney General. Read his language and then tell me what he's asking for?

"e. An affirmative act that violates this chapter but is specifically required by, and is in strict conformance with, other applicable law, to the extent that the actor could not reasonably avoid a violation of this chapter."

Say what????

Here's what he's saying in English If you are complying with Iowa law, you can not be charged with consumer fraud.

Here's another one

This language was provided by the Director of Workforce Development in relationship to an unemployment insurance bill. Here's the proposed language for part-time employees who've been laid off.

"b. Part-time workers are not required to be available for, seek, or accept full-time employment.

Here's what that means: Any part-time employee who is receiving unemployment benefits does not have to seek or accept full time employment if offered. However, they are required to seek and/or accept part-time work if offered, to the same level as the job they lost. In other words, if you worked 20 hours per week, you have to seek or accept an offer for new work up to 20 hours per week if available. (Where do you see any reference to the part-time requirement?)

No non-attorney citizen reading these examples would get the entire meaning of the language, and I would bet even attorneys would not understand the language related to part-time workers without extended research!

So what do I want? I want an English Only Law for legislators and attorneys!

Insult of the week at the Capitol: Five minutes ago we voted on a name change for the Department of Elder Affairs. It was brought to the legislature's attention that older Iowan's were offended by the name "Elder Affairs". The new name we voted on and subsequently passed is "The Department On Aging". This appears to make sense until you refer to their new acronym title. The Department On Aging will now be referred to as DOA, which is the same acronym our emergency services use for Dead On Arrival!



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