An immigration bill that would require all drivers tests in Missouri to be administered only in English did not receive a favorable hearing before the Senate Transportation Committee last week. Currently the written tests can be administered in 11 other languages, with about 3,000 individuals taking the test in another language. In introducing HB 1186 before the committee, Rep. Mark Parkinson (R-St. Charles), said that the bill was needed to ensure that immigrants assimilated into American society.
However, the bill was met with strong resistance from several members of the committee. Sen. John Lamping (R-Clayton) said such a bill would hurt lawful immigrants and their families who were in Missouri working for international companies. Sen. Ron Richard (R-Joplin) indicated that it would be a hardship for many international students who go to college in his district. Sen. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington) was so opposed to the bill that he indicated that if the measure would come before the Senate, he would filibuster it in English.
Aside from the committee members, numerous organizations, including the Missouri Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities, insurance companies and immigrant groups opposed the bill. With so much opposition to the measure, it is quite likely that the bill will die in the Senate committee.