Guymon Reacts to English Only Proposal

A new state law proposal aims to make government agencies stick to a single language.

Newschannel 10's Julia Bagg brings us the story from Guymon...where City Hall still expects to conduct bilingual business as usual.

Jose Perez is  the owner of a Guymon restaurant. He is grateful his local government will serve him in Spanish.  "Para mi está magnífico" ...It's terrific for me.

But things could change for him and about one in three Guymon residents who speak a foreign language.

That's because of a new bill proposing English as Oklahoma's official language.

If it becomes law, state and local authorities could *not* be forced to provide documents in Spanish, or any other language besides English.

It's a proposal that puzzles Guymon's Mayor, Peggy Keenan,  "We've gone on for 200 years with different languages spoken in the United States and it's worked, and I don't believe in passing laws unless something's broken... You don't need to fix it."

Right now Guymon city officials tell us they provide translations for everything from building permits, to explanations of city utility bills. City Hall relies on Spanish documents for taxpayers on a daily basis.

Should English become Oklahoma's official leaders like City Manager Michael Shannon say they'll still feel responsible for providing Spanish-speaking residents with documents they can understand... even if state legislators disagree.  "I've got a problem with that. If somebody comes in and they don't know English, we'll continue to serve 'em as best we can."

That's good news for Jose Perez and his expanding business. He hopes leaders on all levels remember the contributions hispanics have made to help Guymon grow...and keep their language "officially" on the table.