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Bill aims to allow accent marks for names on CA state documents

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Posted at 4:50 PM, Apr 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-04 19:50:26-04

In California, if your name includes an accent mark or tilde, it won't show up that way on important legal documents.

"We should be respecting people and respecting how they want their names to sound and appear on official documents," said Karen Chow, a resident of San Francisco.

State Assembly Bill 77, authored by Assemblymember Blanca Pacheco, aims to change California law.

"Being able to properly spell a name is important," Pacheco said.

The goal of the bill is for diacritical marks on English letters to be properly recorded, especially on important documents like birth certificates and marriage licenses.

"It wouldn't just be something important for the Latino community, it's just equally as important for the other communities," Pacheco said.

“We have had that long history, I think, in this country, where people feel like their names in native languages other than English are not necessarily welcome,” Chow added.

Diacritical marks are an essential part of the way words and names are pronounced.

Although legislation like this has been proposed twice before, it failed both times due to concerns over the cost to implement the changes.