A one-sentence statement describing the effects of a vote in favor of a November ballot measure targeting the state’s bilingual education law is sufficient for Election Day, a Supreme Judicial Court judge ruled yesterday.
The finding by Justice Francis X. Spina went against opponents of the referendum backed by California millionaire Ron Unz. Attorneys for the group opposing the referendum argued Tuesday that the description should mention the provision that allows parents to sue teachers and administrators who fail to follow the English immersion program.
At issue was the mandated one-sentence description of a “yes” vote, which is printed on individual ballots, along with a similar description of the effect of a “no” vote.
Spina said voters can find out about the initiative’s enforcement provision – which leaves teachers liable for attorney’s fees and financial damages – by reading the voter education materials sent out prior to Election Day.
Also yesterday, the Senate voted 37-1 in favor of a bill that overhauls bilingual education, while preserving the option of sticking with the current transitional bilingual program.
The measure was passed by the House two weeks ago.