State Senator Proposes English-Only Driver Test

You see them everyday, on the morning commute and the drive home:  traffic signs--in English.

That's the way a group of state lawmakers wants the rules of the road to stay.

Monday, Gardendale senator Scott Beason (R) announced he'll support new legislation that would ban driver's license tests in any other language.

It's something he says is necessary.

"We have hundred and thousands of illegal immigrants in the state.  There are things that we would never had had to do if we didn't have this influx of illegals in the state," Beason explained.

"I hope it's nothing more than a publicity stunt," exclaimed Richard Cohen, President of Southern Poverty Law Center.

Cohen finds the legislation a big mistake and an infringement on the rights of drivers statewide.

"Alabama is in the 21st century now, and unfortunately, it sounds like the senator wants to knock [the state] back in time," Cohen said.

With plants run by foreign powerhouses like Thyssenkrupp and Hyundai, he believes the law would ward off any new business looking to move to Alabama.

"It's just going to be one more reason for people not to locate their plants here," Cohen said.

Even though the legislation would eliminate 13 languages from the state's exam, some foreign residents think it's a much needed change.

"Some people might call it discrimination, but to me, it's a pretty good idea," explained Tendai Mita, a resident formerly from South Africa.

Others say it's just not right.

"Even if they are trying to learn the language, they're passed for other opportunities, because they don't know it yet," explained Silvia Schultz, a California resident.

In October, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that having multiple languages at the drivers license testing facility didn't contradict English as the state's official language.

Reporter:  Cody Holyoke