WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP/ABC7) - English is becoming the official language of Carroll County.
The all-Republican Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday in Westminster to adopt an ordinance making English the official language of the county government.
Carroll joins Frederick and Queen Anne's counties in adopting such a policy.
The measure introduced in September by Commissioner Haven Shoemaker would require the county's official actions and statements to be in English. But it wouldn't prohibit county employees or elected officials from communicating in other languages for unofficial business.
The heated debate over making English the official language of Carroll County dates back to late last year, when officials proposed mandating that all county documents, publications and hearings would be printed or held in English with no translation. Census records show that about 90 percent of the county's population is Caucasian.
The Hispanic population in Carroll County is about three percent, according to records.
"It seems to be a no-brainer," Carroll County Commissioner Haven Shoemaker said in November in support of making English the official language.
Most of the county residents who showed up to a December public hearing about the English mandate spoke out against the proposed measure, saying that passing it could possibly lead the county to imply that immigrants aren't welcome.