FREDERICK, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — By a vote of 4-1, Frederick County lawmakers passed a bill to make English the official language of its government on Tuesday night.
Votes were cast following a public hearing where citizens had their say, though the outcome was largely thought to have been determined long before hand.
Board President Blaine Young says the bill will help deter illegal immigrants from settling in Frederick County.
It requires official actions of Frederick County to be taken only in English. However, there many exceptions to the rule and its opponents feel nothing will be gained by passing the measure.
For example, other languages could be used to protect public health and public safety; to protect the rights of criminal defendants; and to promote trade and tourism.
David Gray, the Frederick County Commissioner and lone opponent of the bill on the board, says it sends the wrong message.
The county commissioners proclaimed English the county’s official language in 2008. Now, proponents say this ordinance will have more staying power.
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