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SF 175

as introduced - 87th Legislature (2011 - 2012) Posted on 02/23/2012 08:28am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language. underscored = added, new language.



Version List Authors and Status

A bill for an act
relating to state government; designating English as the official language;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2010, sections 171.04, subdivision 1; 171.13,
subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 1;
repealing Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 15.441.


Section 1.


Subdivision 1.


The legislature finds and declares that:

(1) the English language is the common language of the state of Minnesota and of
the United States, the use of a common language removes barriers of misunderstanding
and helps to unify the people of this state and of the United States, and a compelling state
interest exists in promoting, preserving, and strengthening the use of the English language;

(2) the government should promote proficiency in the English language in order to
enable the full economic and civic participation of all its citizens;

(3) proficiency in the English language, as well as in languages other than the
English language, benefits Minnesota both commercially and culturally and should
be encouraged; and

(4) among the powers reserved to each state is the power to establish the English
language as its official language, and otherwise to promote the use of the English language
within the state.

Subd. 2.

Official English declaration.

(a) The English language is the official
language of the state of Minnesota. Official actions of this state which bind or commit the
state or which give the appearance of presenting the official views or positions of the state
shall be taken in the English language. No law, ordinance, order, program, or policy of
this state or any of its political subdivisions, shall require the use of any language other
than English for any documents, regulations, orders, transactions, proceedings, meetings,
programs, or publications, except as provided in subdivision 3.

(b) A person who speaks only the English language shall be eligible to participate in
all programs, benefits, and opportunities, including employment, provided by the state and
its political subdivisions, except when required to speak another language as provided
in subdivision 3. No law, ordinance, order, program, or policy of the state or any of its
political subdivisions shall penalize or impair the rights, obligations, or opportunities
available to any person solely because a person speaks only the English language.

Subd. 3.


The state and its political subdivisions may use a language
other than English for any of the following purposes:

(1) to teach or encourage the learning of languages other than English;

(2) to protect the public health or safety;

(3) to teach English to those who are not fluent in the language;

(4) to comply with the Native American Languages Act, the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act, or any other federal law;

(5) to protect the rights of criminal defendants and victims of crime;

(6) to promote trade, commerce, and tourism;

(7) to create or promote state or agency mottos, inscribe public monuments, and
perform other acts involving the customary use of a language other than English; and

(8) to utilize terms of art or terms or phrases from other languages which are
commonly used in communications otherwise in English.

Subd. 4.

Private use protected.

The declaration and use of English as the official
language of the state of Minnesota should not be construed as infringing upon the rights of
any person to use a language other than English in private communications or actions,
including the right of government officials, including elected officials, to communicate
with others while not performing official actions of the state.

Subd. 5.

Standing to sue.

Any person who is a resident of or doing business in
the state of Minnesota shall have standing to sue any agency or official of the state of
Minnesota to seek a declaratory judgment as to whether this section has been violated
and to seek injunctive relief for violations. A qualified person may file suit even if the
attorney general or other appropriate official of the state has not filed such a suit, and
the suit may be brought on behalf of all citizens of the state. A person who prevails, in
whole or in part, in such a suit, shall be entitled to costs of bringing and maintaining the
suit, including reasonable attorney's fees.

Subd. 6.


If any provision of this section, or the applicability of
any provision to any person or circumstance, shall be held to be invalid by a court of
competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this section shall not be affected and shall be
given effect to the fullest extent practicable.

Subd. 7.

Federal preemption.

Nothing in this act shall be interpreted as conflicting
with the laws of the United States.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 171.04, subdivision 1, is amended to read:

Subdivision 1.

Persons not eligible.

The department shall not issue a driver's

(1) to any person under 18 years unless:

(i) the applicant is 16 or 17 years of age and has a previously issued valid license
from another state or country or the applicant has, for the 12 consecutive months
preceding application, held a provisional license and during that time has incurred (A) no
conviction for a violation of section 169A.20, 169A.33, 169A.35, or sections 169A.50
to 169A.53, (B) no conviction for a crash-related moving violation, and (C) not more
than one conviction for a moving violation that is not crash related. "Moving violation"
means a violation of a traffic regulation but does not include a parking violation, vehicle
equipment violation, or warning citation;

(ii) the application for a license is approved by (A) either parent when both reside
in the same household as the minor applicant or, if otherwise, then (B) the parent or
spouse of the parent having custody or, in the event there is no court order for custody,
then (C) the parent or spouse of the parent with whom the minor is living or, if subitems
(A) to (C) do not apply, then (D) the guardian having custody of the minor, (E) the foster
parent or director of the transitional living program in which the child resides or, in the
event a person under the age of 18 has no living father, mother, or guardian, or is married
or otherwise legally emancipated, then (F) the minor's adult spouse, adult close family
member, or adult employer; provided, that the approval required by this item contains a
verification of the age of the applicant and the identity of the parent, guardian, adult
spouse, adult close family member, or adult employer; and

(iii) the applicant presents a certification by the person who approves the application
under item (ii), stating that the applicant has driven a motor vehicle accompanied by
and under supervision of a licensed driver at least 21 years of age for at least ten hours
during the period of provisional licensure;

(2) to any person who is 18 years of age or younger, unless the person has applied
for, been issued, and possessed the appropriate instruction permit for a minimum of six
months, and, with respect to a person under 18 years of age, a provisional license for a
minimum of 12 months;

(3) to any person who is 19 years of age or older, unless that person has applied
for, been issued, and possessed the appropriate instruction permit for a minimum of
three months;

(4) to any person whose license has been suspended during the period of suspension
except that a suspended license may be reinstated during the period of suspension upon
the licensee furnishing proof of financial responsibility in the same manner as provided in
the Minnesota No-Fault Automobile Insurance Act;

(5) to any person whose license has been revoked except upon furnishing proof
of financial responsibility in the same manner as provided in the Minnesota No-Fault
Automobile Insurance Act and if otherwise qualified;

(6) to any drug-dependent person, as defined in section 254A.02, subdivision 5;

(7) to any person who has been adjudged legally incompetent by reason of mental
illness, mental deficiency, or inebriation, and has not been restored to capacity, unless
the department is satisfied that the person is competent to operate a motor vehicle with
safety to persons or property;

(8) to any person who is required by this chapter to take a vision, knowledge, or road
examination, unless the person has successfully passed the examination. An applicant
who fails four road tests must complete a minimum of six hours of behind-the-wheel
instruction with an approved instructor before taking the road test again;

(9) to any person who is required under the Minnesota No-Fault Automobile
Insurance Act to deposit proof of financial responsibility and who has not deposited the

(10) to any person when the commissioner has good cause to believe that the
operation of a motor vehicle on the highways by the person would be inimical to public
safety or welfare;

(11) to any person when, in the opinion of the commissioner, the person is afflicted
with or suffering from a physical or mental disability or disease that will affect the person
in a manner as to prevent the person from exercising reasonable and ordinary control over
a motor vehicle while operating it upon the highways;

(12) to a person who is unable to read and understand official signs that use English
language or symbols
regulating, warning, and directing traffic;

(13) to a child for whom a court has ordered denial of driving privileges under
section 260C.201, subdivision 1, or 260B.235, subdivision 5, until the period of denial is
completed; or

(14) to any person whose license has been canceled, during the period of cancellation.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 171.13, subdivision 1, is amended to read:

Subdivision 1.

Examination subjects and locations; provisions for color
blindness, disabled veterans.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, the
commissioner shall examine each applicant for a driver's license by such agency as the
commissioner directs. The examination must be administered in English, and the applicant
must complete the examination without assistance of a foreign language interpreter.
examination must include a test of applicant's eyesight; ability to read and understand
English language highway signs regulating, warning, and directing traffic; knowledge of
traffic laws; knowledge of the effects of alcohol and drugs on a driver's ability to operate a
motor vehicle safely and legally, and of the legal penalties and financial consequences
resulting from violations of laws prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while under
the influence of alcohol or drugs; knowledge of railroad grade crossing safety; knowledge
of slow-moving vehicle safety; knowledge of laws relating to pupil transportation safety,
including the significance of school bus lights, signals, stop arm, and passing a school
bus; knowledge of traffic laws related to bicycles; an actual demonstration of ability to
exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a motor vehicle; and other
physical and mental examinations as the commissioner finds necessary to determine the
applicant's fitness to operate a motor vehicle safely upon the highways, provided, further
however, no driver's license shall be denied an applicant on the exclusive grounds that the
applicant's eyesight is deficient in color perception. Provided, however, that war veterans
operating motor vehicles especially equipped for disabled persons, shall, if otherwise
entitled to a license, be granted such license. The commissioner shall make provision for
giving these examinations either in the county where the applicant resides or at a place
adjacent thereto reasonably convenient to the applicant.


In Minnesota Statutes, the revisor shall change "sections 15.44 and 15.441" to
"section 15.44" wherever the term appears in Minnesota Statutes.


Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 15.441, is repealed.

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