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Tipsheet

Washington Dems Want English-Language Requirement Cut for Certain Civil Service Positions

Craig Ruttle

Legislation introduced by Washington state Democrats would eliminate an English-language requirement for some civil service employees, including firefighters, police officers, and sheriff’s office positions. Additionally, U.S. citizenship would not be required either, as Senate Bill 5274 would allow lawful permanent residents to apply. 

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The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Javier Valdez, said the legislation would increase the pool of candidates available and help diversify the state's workforce. 

“If an applicant is capable and qualified to do the job, we must remove the barriers that prevent them from working as a public servant,” Valdez said. “Washington is a diverse, multicultural state, and our workforce should reflect that.”

The measure, denounced by conservatives, passed the Senate earlier this month and will now be taken up by the House.

“This latest left-wing equity push neither makes sense nor serves the public,” said Radio host Jason Rantz, who argued speaking English is a necessary requirement to perform even the most basic tasks associated with the jobs.

"This will push unqualified candidates into roles for diversity’s sake (and yes, you’re unqualified for these jobs if you don’t possess these basic skills)," he said. "It puts our safety at risk."

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Senate minority leader John Braun (R-Centralia), meanwhile, called the bill “wrongheaded.”

“These are folks who are forced to deliver services to our citizens around the state. Certainly, if they’re bilingual, that’s actually valuable. Oftentimes, they’re paid more … but to think that you can somehow function and deliver services in our society without being able to read or write English, I think is, again, wrongheaded,” he told Rantz. 

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