Missouri House passes bill calling for English-only driver's tests

By Heartland News

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KFVS) - Driver's license tests in Missouri may soon come in only one language: English.

A bill requiring applicants to pass a driver's test administered in English only is on its way to the State Senate.  The Missouri House passed the measure Thursday by a 102-56 margin.

Proponents of the bill say it's a safety issue, pointing out that drivers need to be able to read English to understand written road instructions while driving.  Opponents use words like bigoted and xenophobic to describe the legislation.  House Democratic leader Mike Talboy says it discriminates against legal immigrants.

"It's shameful that we're in this place in society where we're just going to continue to find groups to single out to go after, to make examples of, for no other reason than the fact that they are different," Talboy said.

Republican floor leader Tim Jones says he doesn't think the bill places an undo burden on the state's immigrant population.  "Our cities and our urban cores have all different sorts of ethnicities and races and creeds and colors," Jones said.  "And I don't think that requiring folks to come here and take a driver's license test in English is any sort of detriment."

Currently, the state administers its driver's license test in 11 different languages.

Information from: Missouri News Horizon.  Copyright KFVS 2011. All rights reserved.