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Assembly Passes Historic Language Access Bill

Posted: Aug 27, 2012

  The California State Assembly passed a bill that would require the state to translate ballot initiative petitions being circulated for signature-gathering into different languages.

Hailed as a historic step for millions of California's minorities, SB1233 authored by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), would require petition circulators in 28 counties to keep up to nine language translations of initiative and referendum summaries on hand to show possible signers.

"Democracy should be for everyone," said Michelle Romero, Greenlining's Our Democracy program director. Greenlining is one of the sponsors of the bill. "California speaks 200 languages, but our initiative petitions speak only one. We can bring millions of voters fully into our democratic process, and it will only cost about a penny per person."

"This bill will help protect all of us by making it harder for signature-gatherers to mislead voters into signing a petition they don't really understand," added Cesar Diaz, Legislative and Political Director of the State Building and Construction Trades Council. "It's just common sense to give all voters an equal say in deciding what goes on the ballot." Read more here.


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