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By Eric Lieberman
A $1.5 million bill that would translate the government’s website into Spanish was shot down Tuesday, after a Republican representative pointed out the existence of Google Translate.
Democrat State Rep. Robert Martwick (of Chicago), sponsored the bill because he felt the language barrier made it difficult for certain people to fully appreciate the wealth of information available from government resources, specifically online.
The $1.5 million cost estimation comes from one of the co-sponsors of the bill, who says that software issues could arise, according to Illinois News Network.
“For these people who are citizens of our country who have the ability, if they don’t have the information to know what’s going on here, how can they properly engage in having their voice being heard?” Martwick asked, according to Illinois News Network. “I think we owe it to be inclusive to all of the language speakers of our country…When we start talking about things we need to spend money on, this is the right thing to spend money on.”
Republican Rep. Keith Wheeler, who reportedly runs an IT company as well, translated Martwick’s bill into Polish, after his colleague said that his family of Polish descent wouldn’t have been able to engage with the government.
“While my friend Rep. Robert Martwick was talking, I switched [his bill] over to Polish,” Wheeler said. “It just took a click. That’s all it took … it already exists.”
Republican State Rep. Mark Batinick agrees with Martwick, while not comprehending why the legislature would spend taxpayers money on something that is already publicly available.
“We have a solution that does it for every language that is free. Why are we upset about that?” Batinick said in a baffled and somewhat frustrated manner. “I have no idea why we are against a great, free, bipartisan solution.” (RELATED: Facebook’s New ‘Townhall’ Feature Lets You Complain To Your Local Congressmen)
The bill was ultimately pulled after it became clear that it did not have the support to pass.