The final debate boiled down to safety versus respect for immigrants. State Representative Tishaura Jones (D, St. Louis) says she represents constituents from several different nationalities, and added that every member of the House descended from immigrants.
“How disrespectful can we be to our ancestors to vote for a piece of legislation like this?” Jones said.
Currently, the state DMV administers written exams in English and in eleven foreign languages. House Member Dave Schatz (R, Sullivan) supported the bill. He says requiring English-only exams would help make Missouri’s roads safer.
“I just can’t believe that anybody wouldn’t think that we would be much safer if people could read the language," Schatz said. "There’s many, many signs out there that have specific instructions, and if you cannot read the language you cannot claim to be safe.”
The bill passed 93-63, mostly along party lines. It now goes to the Missouri Senate.