Choose another Topic

Return to History Introduction

Return to Modern Georgia 1990-Present: Individual Items

Act of the Georgia General Assembly designating English the official state language (April 25, 1996)


Act of the Georgia General Assembly

April 25, 1996

STATE GOVERNMENT—ENGLISH DESIGNATED OFFICIAL LANGUAGE; USE OF OFFICIAL LANGUAGE.

Code Section 50-3-100 Enacted.

No. 1045 (Senate Bill No. 519).

AN ACT

To amend Chapter 3 of title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the state flag, seal, and other symbols, so as to designate English as the official language of the State of Georgia; to provide for use of the official language; to provide for construction; to provide for remedies; to provide for exceptions; to authorize use and printing of official documents in other languages; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

BE IN ENACTED BY THE G

SECTION 1.

Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the state flag, seal, and other symbols, is amended by adding a new article, to be designated Article 4, to read as follows:

“ARTICLE 4

50-3-100.

(a) The English language is designated as the official language of the State of Georgia. The official language shall be the language used for each public record, as defined in Code Section 50-18-70, and each public meeting, as defined in Code Section 50-14-1, and for official Acts of the State of Georgia, including those governmental documents, records, meetings, actions, or policies which are enforceable with the full weight and authority of the State of Georgia.

(b) This Code section shall not be construed in any way to deny a person’s rights under the Constitution of Georgia or the Constitution of the United States or any laws, statutes, or regulations of the United States or of the State of Georgia as a result of that person’s inability to communicate in the official language.

(c) State agencies, counties, municipal corporations, and political subdivisions of this state are authorized to use or to print official documents and forms in languages other than the official language, at the discretion of their governing authorities. Documents filed or recorded with a state agency or with the clerk of a county, municipal. corporation, or political subdivision must be in the official language or, if the original document is in a language other than the official language, an English translation of the document must be simultaneously filed.

(d) The provisions of subsection (a) of this Code shall not apply:

(1) When in conflict with federal law;

(2) When the public safety, health, or justice require the use of the other languages;

(3) To instruction designed to teach the speaking, reading, or writing of foreign languages;

(4) To instruction designed to aid students with limited English proficiency in their transition and integration into the education system of the state; and

(5) To the promotion of international commerce, tourism, sporting events, or cultural events.”

SECTION 2.

All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

Approved April 25, 1996.