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Sen. Leland Yee's Bill to Ban Language Discrimination Passes in CA

On a 47-25 vote, the California Assembly has approved Senator Leland Yee's SB 242. That's the legislation that prohibits businesses from denying service to a patron because of the language he or she speaks. 

SB 242 would prohibit a business from adopting a policy that requires, limits, or prohibits the use of any language within a business establishment.  The bill allows language restriction in necessary by a business necessity as long as notification has been provided of the circumstances at the time when the language restriction is required and of the consequences.  SB 242 does not impose any additional requirements on businesses other than to respect the dignity and diversity of their patrons.  

The bill comes out of the move by the women's golf tour (LPGA) to suspend players who do not speak English. It was specifically targeting the increasing number of Korean players.

In September 2008, Yee led an effort to oppose a policy by the LPGA that would have required players on the tour to be proficient in English starting this year. The LPGA claimed that it was important for players to be able to interact with American media and event sponsors.

Yee argued that many of the sponsors are international companies, a number of the tournaments are not held in the U.S., and no other professional sports league in the U.S. has such a mandate.

“It is quite disheartening that in the 21st century any organization would think such a policy is acceptable,” said Yee. “With the passage of SB 242, such discriminatory mandates will not only be unfair, but illegal.”

It will now go to the Governor where it's chances are questionable.

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