Me, Weighing In On The English-Only Thing
I've kept mum on this topic for two reasons. My general point of view isn't a popular one and until now I haven't bothered myself to read the full text of the current bill. Of course, when Sarcastro brings it up, I feel a sort of libertarian pull to join the conversation.
Feel free to gear up for calling me a racist bigot, but do please allow me a moment to explain my point of view and reasoning behind legal language limitations.
Companies should be free to choose their operational language
Because I'm all about individual liberty, and for the purposes of law a Corporation is the equivalent of an Individual, I believe that any company should be able to operate with whatever languages serve them best. There are stores here in Nashville where the signs are in English only. There are other stores with signage with nearly every language you can think of. Spanish, Russian, Farsi, Greek, Hebrew. These businesses know their customers and react accordingly.
Over the course of the last 15 years, the market has adjusted to an influx of Spanish speakers. Most large businesses now offer Spanish-language services. I think that's good for the community on many levels. But it has always been a 'personal' choice of the corporation.
Dual Language Operations are expensive
In my previous job we sold products into Canada. Part of my unwieldy scope of duties was to get our packaging, catalogues and products (Baby books) translated into French to meet Canada's dual language guidelines. Just as I mentioned above, it was our corporate choice to do business in Canada so we gladly undertook the expense. However, when the dual language laws passed in Quebec, forcing companies to do business in both French and English it had the effect of nearly crippling the economy of Montreal, as most Anglophone businesses either shut down outright or relocated to Toronto. It was simply too expensive for these businesses to essentially double their operations to meet the legal requirements.
Passing English-As-Official-Language Laws Can Make Economic Sense When Handled Appropriately
I dread the day when a law is passed saying that ALL Businesses must comply with dual language regulations. When most people think of 'businesses' they think of places like Verizon and Sears. Big companies with deep pockets for whom adding a line in Spanish to their signs and paperwork is just an inconvenient blip on the radar. Places like small mom and pop stores in other ethnic sections--think a Russian market or an Indian hair salon--would be forced to follow the same regulations. It would be financially prohibitive and functionally unnecessary. For that reason I would favour some type of up-front statement that we will not force any entity to operate in a dual language capacity.