Kansas became the 30th state to make English its official language via legislation. The bill, H.B. 2140, passed the House by a vote of 114-7 and the Senate by a vote of 32-8. Then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) signed the bill into law on May 11, 2007.
The law designating English as the official Kansas state language is found in the Kansas General Statutes, Chapter 73, Article 28, Section 73-2801 thru 2802.
Chapter 73.- SOLDIERS, SAILORS AND PATRIOTIC EMBLEMS
Article 28.- OFFICIAL LANGUAGE
73-2801. English designated official language of state. (a) English shall be designated as the official language of the state of Kansas.
(b) The official language is designated as the language of any official public document or record and any official public meeting:
(1) An official public document or record is any document officially compiled, published or recorded by the state including deeds, publicly probated wills and any other document or record required to be kept open for public inspection pursuant to the open records act.
(2) An official public meeting is any meeting required to be open pursuant to K.S.A. 75-4317 et seq., and amendments thereto.
(c) Except as otherwise provided by law, no state agency or political or taxing subdivision of the state shall be required to provide any documents, information, literature or other written materials in any language other than English. Nothing shall prohibit state agencies or political or taxing subdivisions from: (1) Publishing any official public document or record in languages other than English at their discretion, so long as the document or record is also published in English; or (2) permitting a person who does not speak English to speak or communicate at an official public meeting with the assistance of an interpreter.
History: L. 2007, ch. 186, § 1; July 1.
73-2802. Use of language other than English. A state agency or political or taxing subdivision, or its officers or employees, may use a language other than the English language to:
(a) Provide information orally to individuals in the course of delivering services to the general public;
(b) comply with federal law;
(c) protect the public health or safety;
(d) protect the rights of parties and witnesses in a civil or criminal action in a court or in an administrative proceeding;
(e) provide instruction in foreign and native American language courses;
(f) provide instruction designed to aid students with limited English proficiency so they can make a timely transition to use of the English language in the public schools;
(g) promote international commerce, trade or tourism;
(h) use terms of art or phrases from languages other than the English language in documents;
(i) provide signage and documents in braille; and
(j) communicate in American Sign Language.
History: L. 2007, ch. 186, § 2; July 1.