Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer said Thursday that he supports the idea -- promoted by a Lino Lakes city council member -- of making English the official language.

Emmer co-sponsored a measure in the House to make English the official language statewide.

His 2008 bill would have declared, "English is the official language of the state of Minnesota. English is designated as the language for use by the state and local governments, for government officers and employees acting in the scope of their
employment, and for government documents and records."

The 2008 House bill would have also required "all public agencies within the state" to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and prohibited anyone from renting or selling a home to anyone whose immigration status the landlord had not verified.

While he said he was unaware of the exact details of the Lino Lakes move, Emmer said Thursday the he agrees with its intent.

"I agree with that," Emmer said in an interview with the Star Tribune's Baird Helgeson.

Emmer said he co-sponsored the 2008 measure because his home county said the cost of producing signs in multiple languages "was killing them."

"But you have to make sure everybody has a fair opportunity to learn our English language, understand it and use that skill to understand where they are going," he said.

The 2008 measure never had a hearing or a vote in the House.

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