According to Rudi Keller of the Columbia Daily-Tribune Tilley (R-Perryville) said this week that he wants the state to require anyone testing for a Missouri driver's license to pass the test in English. He explained: "How many times do you drive down the road and see the signs in other forms than English? I have been all around the state, and people think it is a common-sense issue and that we should institute it, and we are elected by the people to be their voice, and that is what we intend to do."
The state provides the test in 12 different languages, including English and Spanish.
Keller writes that Tilley made the remarks in a press conference after his first speech as speaker, and:
When asked whether it mattered if the person seeking the license was a legal resident or an exchange student who might not have a strong grasp of written English, Republican supporters who crowded in behind reporters and some members of the GOP caucus arrayed behind Tilley loudly protested the question. Tilley had to quiet them.
"If you are on the roads and you can't read the signs, it is a public safety issue, period," he said after restoring order.
Cauthorn -- a Republican who ironically represents Mexico, Missouri -- agreed that "If folks are going to come here and work, they need to work toward learning the English language."
But to Cauthorn, there was more to it then that: "The average guy on the street hates Spanish, and it is everywhere. To the average guy, that is important. We are almost to the point of losing our identity as a nation."