State Rep. Mike Sturla

Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee

State Rep. Angel Cruz


Hearing Co-Chairman    



House Democratic Policy Committee investigates potential impact

of establishing an official state language


PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 3 – Legislators on the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from testifiers at a public hearing today at the Antonia Pantoja Charter School in Philadelphia regarding a proposal to  establish English as the official language of Pennsylvania, said Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.   


The hearing was requested and co-chaired by state Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila. State Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., the chairwoman of the state House’s State Government Committee, also attended.


"Establishing an official language in Pennsylvania is a shortsighted and ill-advised plan that will cost the Commonwealth money, isolate our population’s communities from one another and have a negative impact on our state’s tourism,” Sturla said. “Representative Cruz understands these negative consequences and I applaud his determination in fully investigating this proposal.”


“America is a nation of immigrants with a longstanding history of cherishing cultural identity and accepting our differences. It concerns me that some individuals would want us to make English the official language of Pennsylvania at the risk of losing that heritage, when really, it accomplishes nothing,” Cruz said. “I would like to thank Representative Sturla and members of the House Democratic Policy Committee for bringing this hearing to my district so that we could fully explore this very important issue, which would affect many of my constituents.”


Josephs concluded, “The most common way non-English speakers learn our language is through English as a Second Language courses, but the governor cut education funding in half, making it even more challenging for them to learn. Enacting an English-only rule will not make it any easier, but that much more difficult.”


Those testifying included Dr. Carmen Febo San Miguel, executive director, Taller Puertorriqueno; William Sylianteng, executive committee member, Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania; Tim Schultz, director of government relations, U.S. English; Robert Nix, attorney and member, Hispanic Bar Association; Patricia DeCarlo, executive director, Norris Square Civic Association; and Yvette Nunez, vice president of Fundraising and External Affairs, Congreso.


For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, visit