Despite claims that it is racist and discriminatory, a bill that would make English the state's official language was passed narrowly by the House Social Services Committee. The bill now will be considered on the floor of the House.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Haynes Fuller, D-Eden, said it would force immigrants to assimilate into the culture and preserve the nation's "oneness.""I believe my bill is in favor of minorities," he said. Unless they assimilate, non-English speaking people will "lead themselves down the primrose path of isolation into second-class citizenship."

Representatives of many groups spoke against the bill. Most said the bill is unneeded and would be used as an excuse by some to discriminate.

"It's a good thing the founders of our Constitution didn't go for conformity and psuedo-patriotism," said Robert Archuleta.

A similar bill failed to pass the Legislature last year.