LANSING, Mich., March 11, 2021 — State Rep. Cynthia A. Johnson (D-Detroit) introduced legislation last week to improve communication between lawmakers and constituents who may speak little or no English. House Bill 4428 would require printed legislative publications, like newsletters and informational booklets, to be made available in different languages upon request from a state representative or senator.
“Representative government and good constituent service should extend to everyone, not just to those born with English on the tongue,” said Johnson. “We have the power to make sure that our fellow Michiganders, no matter what language they speak, can participate in our democracy and be informed about what their elected officials are doing on their behalf.”
According to U.S. Census data, nearly 10 percent of Michigan’s population speak languages other than English. The three most common non-English languages used in the state are Spanish (282,000), Arabic (143,000) and Chinese (48,000.) The bill would require additional copies of a constituent publication to be printed in one or more languages other than English, including, but not limited to: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Haitian, Hindi and Spanish.
HB 4428 has been referred to the House Committee on Government Operations.
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