A proposed California bill could allow diacritical marks, such as accents, on government documents, a move that would accurately reflect how millions from different ethnicities spell and say their names.
The bill, known as Assembly Bill 77, was introduced by Blanca Pacheco (D-Downey). If passed, the bill would allow diacritical marks to be used on birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates, among others.
When California designated English to be the state’s official language in 1986, it also prohibited the use of diacritical marks on government documents.
Since then, the Department of Public Health has deemed that using diacritical marks is unacceptable, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The use of diacritical marks can be found in many languages, such as French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Czech and Swedish.
Ironically, the largest ethnic group in California is Hispanic or Latinos, making up about 39% of California’s population.
The rest of the state’s population is comprised of 35% white, 15% Asian American or Pacific Islander, 5% Black, 4% multiracial, and fewer than 1% Native American or Alaska Native, according to U.S. Census data.
Lawmakers are still debating the bill and should it pass both houses, it would go to Gov. Gavin Newsom to either sign or veto.