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English Only Licenses: Ah, Irony

Dennis Himmelberger (no doubt descended from a long line of Native Americans) thinks that only people who are proficient in English should be allowed to obtain a license to drive in Montana. He is offering House Bill 549 , which would add this requirement to obtain a license:

must include an English proficiency test, to be administered, as needed, at the discretion of the agent conducting the licensing, that is designed to test English language ability at a level consistent with what a person would reasonably need to be able to read directional and safety road signs and to follow instructions of peace officers and emergency personnel.

I suppose I could spend another post talking about the nativist nonsense and lack of research behind this bill, but that probably would involve more effort than the Pat Buchanan inspired drafting of this piece of legislation entailed. I might ask why Republican legislators are so often interested in passing bills based on anecdotal horror stories, but I won't find an answer.

So instead, let's turn to the comments in the Billings Gazette, where we find some inspired support for the bill:

Bills way over do, along with a few others. In any case the government can pick up the tab for verifying someones status, not Montana.

I think it is a good idea at least you should be able to talk to a officer and be able to read the laws 

to wonder,a moot point on what our ancestors spoke as now they speak English well enough to pass a drivers test, Strange how illigals can't speak English but know the welfare system how to get free medical care

Perhaps Mr. Himmelberger can take the time to propose another bill, a requirement for basic English proficiency before offering political commentary on a news site.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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