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Ay caramba! A Capitol fight over official language of Pa. - abc27 WHTM

Ay caramba! A Capitol fight over official language of Pa.

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Call it a guerra de palabras, or war of words over what words Pennsylvanians officially speak.

Representative Angel Cruz - (D) Philadelphia - introduced HR 666 that would deem Spanish Pennsylvania's official language.

Representative Daryl Metcalfe - (R) Butler - introduced HB 2132 that would make English the official language in the commonwealth.

"We need to have English as our official language so we can direct our state bureaucracy to communicate in our official language rather than wasting tax dollars trying to communicate in all these various languages," Metcalfe said Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol.

Cruz countered, "Technically in America the Indian language (Native American) is the language we need to be speaking because it was the original language. We changed it later on."

The fight is mostly over forms printed by government agencies and whether they should only be done in English or a variety of languages.

English-only has been pushed in the past at the Capitol, and it has failed to pass. Cruz says for Metcalfe to keep bringing it up is insulting.

"Don't disrespect me. I'm just as much an American as you are, okay? But you gotta accept him for who he is. He's Daryl Metcalfe and Daryl Metcalfe alone."

Metcalfe calls Cruz's idea loco.

"English as an official language has a unifying effect," Metcalfe explained. "Angel Cruz's legislation is divisive and would divide us as a people instead of trying to unify us."

Lawmakers are divided on the issue.

"I don't think there ought to be any official language in Pennsylvania," said Representative Mark Cohen - (D) Philadelphia.

Cohen says Pennsylvanians aren't waiting for lawmakers to declare any language "official." He did add, counter to Metcalfe's argument, that printing forms in other languages is a money-maker for the state.

"We have found historically in Pennsylvania that when we print up forms in different languages, we get more tax revenues."

It's a fight Cruz can't win. The Spanish resolution and the English-only bill are in the State Government committee.

Its Chairman is Daryl Metcalfe.

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