Bad Idea, Cooch…Really Bad Idea.

The WaPo reports that the Cooch has screwed the Pooch…he wants to give employers the right to terminate employees who don’t speak English.  You know, presumably the same employer who hired the employee and knew said employee couldn’t speak English.

Clearly this is a way to keep business payments to fund the state unemployment fund down.  Nonetheless, is it a bad bill.

I commented on this earlier today at RK, but the more I think about it the more annoyed I get.

RK says that Dick Saslaw considers the bill “mean spirited”. I originally thought it was merely silly.  Now I have progressed to thinking it  stupid…or, as I think they say in another country, “idiota”.

The bill is bad for two reasons:

Impossible legal standard:

What defines a reasonable legal standard for being able to speak English?  Fluency?  Proficiency? Competency? Able to make oneself understood? There are people I know who are born and raised in this country who speak in such a manner that they cause me to wonder if they really can speak English, yet they are deemed to be able to.  What standard defining english speaking competency is so exact that it can meet a court challenge?

Is this bill really needed?

If they don’t speak English, and they need to be able to speak English to do their job, don’t hire them.

If they are doing their job despite being unable to be able to speak English, why fire them?

If they are unable to do their jobs (even if as a result of being unable to speak English, then they can be terminated for cause.

It is not like these people were hired site unseen…if an employer is stupid enough to hire someone who doesn’t speak English for a position that requires fluency, why exactly is the state government expected to protect them?  This is conservative government in action?

The next time Cooch talks against the “Nanny State”, remind him of this bill.

Of course, at one level this bill does not surprise me.

This is exactly what Ben Tribbett predicted-Ken Cuccinelli with all the wraps off can be the Democrats worst nightmare or a loose cannon doing no one any good.  Depending on 2011 redistricting, Cuccinelli either goes into a Democratic majority seat he cannot win (located primarily Fairfax County) OR into a seat that picks up significant GOP areas in Western PWCo that will be much easier for him to win.  Either way he gets more latitude to push legislation like this. 

If he is doomed to be in a vastly democratic seat, he has nothing to lose so he will come out swinging

If he is guaranteed to be a solidly GOP seat, he has nothing to worry about…so he will come out swinging.

He probably figures that if he runs statewide, a bill like this will help him with the GOP conservative base and with those worried about immigration.  Could be, could be…

One thing, this is not the bill of someone looking to run for Congress in Northern Virginia.  This is a bill proposed by someone willing to take his lumps now to help his chances in a bigger race in 2009.

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4 thoughts on “Bad Idea, Cooch…Really Bad Idea.

  1. This typifies my perennial complaint that a lot of pols around Virginia who call themselves “conservative” have not the slightest commitment to conservative or even conservative-light Republican principles. The labels are a scam designed to hornswoggle uncritical voters who simply don’t understand the underlying reasons that conservative values are important in modern society. This is a proposal worthy of the most left-wing, interventionist, statist, meddling Democrat.

    Quite aside from this recurring problem of so-called conservative pols whose conservatism is no more profound than a cheap Halloween costume, we have the additional issue of why so many from our side of the aisle are attracted to this kind of vicious immigrant bashing. It is such demonstrably bad policy that one can conclude only that it is designed to keep throwing gas on the nativist fires that have saved more than one sub-standard political hack from defeat in recent months. One of the many stupid complaints about current immigration issues is people who don’t speak English. BVBL is replete with people complaining about having to “press 1” for English. Look, it took three generations before the German component of my family tree stopped butchering the English language, but we got there. If they could not have found employment for the first 60 years, well . . . I can think of situations where it is commercially advantageous to have employees who speak languages other than English. Let the employer work that out.

    This is purely and simply trolling for votes from a crowd that decent people wouldn’t want to spend much time with. And it shows with great clarity the bankruptcy of pretensions to conservative political identity.

  2. PS: this kind of thing can’t even avail itself of the usual dodge that we aren’t motivated by ethnic animus – we’re just anti-illegal immigrant. Learning the language is a problem that confronts legal immigrants as well as illegals.

  3. I think the idea was that some employees promise to improve their linguistic skills over a six-month (or whatever) time period, and if they can’t/won’t/don’t, the employer can fire them. I mean, a lot of employers hire people to work with computers with the idea that the employee will become more proficient over time. If the employee cannot handle the computer skill (which is like learning another language), the employee can get fired in that case also.

    The question boils down to whether or not an employer should be forced to pay higher unemployment benefits because of such a firing. Now frankly, I don’t think that employers would hire someone just to fire them willy-nilly, or fire a person just for speaking a foreign language in a break room. Is this language issue becoming a problem because of the changing work force? Maybe there is a real driver behind this bill.

  4. Bwana:
    You know I am no fan of the “Cooch”, however, I think he’s right on this one. While you and I both know folks from the more rural parts of the commonwealth and wonder if what they speak suffices for English, I believe that requiring an indidvidual to learn to communicate with the english speaking public, if it is a requirement of the position, is a reasonalbe request. I think not penalizing the business owner with increase taxes for firing an individual who does not or cannot certify his fluency, is fair.
    So far as the Cooch’s future plans, until he mentions otherwise, he is still just a State Senator who just got thru a close election and should thank the good Lord that Jim Mitchell opted not to run this past November.
    Take care
    BFIV

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