Panel moves bill honoring Alaska Native languages

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by Your Alaska Link News Team

Surrounded by a cheering crowd, the House State Affairs Committee Tuesday moved a bill adding 20 Alaska Native languages as the official languages for Alaska.

The move is symbolic. English will remain the official legal language for the state.

House Bill 216, co-sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, a Democrat from Sitka, and Rep. Charisse Millett, an Anchorage Republican, was reworked to emphasized the 20 languages will not be used for legal purposes nor will official state paperwork be printed in 21 languages if the bill becomes law.

The bill encountered resistance during the last meeting where several committee members expressed concern the intent of the bill in making the languages only symbolic was not clear.

The bill moves to the House Rules Committee.