A Pluribus of Bills

It is that time of year again.  Time for state legislators to start filing their bills for consideration on this year’s agenda and is getting a fair amount of attention this year.

As of this writing there are seven bills that are already on the docket or have been submitted for consideration that are about displaying In God We Trust on government property.
This doesn’t even include the dozen or so bills for special license plated in several states.

So let’s go through these bill.

Oklahoma Senate Bill 1016

If funds under subsection C of this section are available, local school superintendents of the public schools in this state and the administrative officials of state agencies shall place a durable poster or framed image representing:

1.The of the United States, “In God We Trust”; 2. An accurate representation of the United States flag, which shall be centered under the ; and 3. An accurate representation of the Oklahoma State flag. B. These items shall be displayed in each: Public elementary and secondary school library and classroom in this state; and 2. Public building or facility in this state that is maintained or operated by state funds. C. The items and images authorized under this section shall either be donated or shall be purchased solely with funds made available through voluntary contributions to local schools or local school boards.

Status: Open
Action: 2018-02-19 – Coauthored by Representative Jordan (principal House author)
Pending: Senate Appropriations Committee

Oklahoma Senate Bill 1378

This is nearly the exact same bill as OK SB 1016 except it officially calls it “Oklahoma State Capitol National Motto Display Act”

Status: Open
Action: 2018-02-19 – Referred to Appropriations
Pending: Senate Appropriations Committee

Alabama House Bill 145

This bill would authorize the display of the  national motto “In God We Trust” in or on any public building or public school in the state.

Status: Open
Status: Enrolled on March 8 2018 – 75% progression
Action: 2018-03-08 – Forwarded to Executive Department

Alabama House Bill 228

This bill would permit the use of the national motto of “In God We Trust” by government agencies and offices, in and on public buildings, including government office buildings, public  school classrooms, and on vehicles.

Status: Enrolled on March 8 2018 – 75% progression
Action: 2018-03-08 – Forwarded to Executive Department

Mississippi Bill 1100

Principals and teachers in each public elementary and secondary school of each school district in this state shall display on an appropriately framed background with minimum dimensions of eleven inches by fourteen  inches, the Ten Commandments in each classroom and the following motto of the United States of America in each classroom, school auditorium and school cafeteria under his or her supervision:  “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
The school board of each school district shall require the teachers in that school district to have the Ten Commandments recited aloud at the beginning of the first hour of class each day that school is in session.

Status: Failed on January 30 2018 – 100% progression
Action: 2018-01-30 – Died In Committee

South Carolina Bill 4385

The State Board of Education shall develop a standard durable poster on which appears the national motto of the United States of America, ‘In God We Trust’ and motto of this State, ‘Dum Spiro Spero’ with its English translation, ‘While I breathe, I hope’.    A copy of the poster must be displayed in all public elementary school, middle school, and high school classrooms in this State

Status: Open
Action: 2018-03-06 – Member(s) request name added as sponsor: McCravy
Pending: House Education and Public Works Committee

Florida Senate Bill 839

Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, “In God We Trust,” designated in a conspicuous place.


Action: 2018-03-11 – Approved by Governor

Tennessee House Bill 2368
(a) Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, an LEA shall require all
schools within the LEA to display the national motto of the United States, “In God
We Trust,” in a prominent location in each school.
(b) The display required in subsection (a) may take the form of, but is not
limited to, a mounted plaque or student artwork.
(c) For purposes of this section, “prominent location” means a school
entry way, cafeteria, or common area where students are likely to see the
national motto display

Action: 2018-03-21 – Signed by Senate Speaker
Pending:Signature of the Governor

Tennessee Senate Bill 2661

Same as HB 2436(above)

Status: See above
Action: 

Missouri HB 2436

To the extent sufficient donations under subsection  of this section are  received to do so, each superintendent of a school district in the state shall place in each  public school classroom and each public school library of the district a durable poster or  framed copy containing:

1.  (1) The national motto of the United States: “In God We Trust”;  (2) An accurate representation of the United States flag, which shall be centered  under the national motto; and  (3) An accurate representation of the Missouri state flag.

2. (1) Any person may provide copies or posters authorized by this section by  voluntary donation. Any person may make a voluntary donation of moneys to a local  school board for the purpose of purchasing copies or posters authorized by this section.  (2) If a school district does not receive sufficient donations to place a copy or poster  in each classroom and each library, the superintendent of the school district shall use any  donations received to place a copy or poster in as many classrooms and libraries in the  district as possible.

Status: Open
Action: 2018-02-21 – Referred: Elementary and Secondary Education(H)
Pending: House Elementary And Secondary Education Committee

 

Wyoming House Bill 133

8-3-126. Display of national motto.
(a) Subject to subsection (b) of this section, the national motto of the United States, “In God We Trust,” shall be displayed prominently in the state capitol building, the library and each classroom of each public elementary and secondary school of the state, the lobby of each public building or facility owned by the state and within the leased space of any building or facility leased by the state. Any display of the national motto made pursuant to this section shall contain, adjacent to the national motto, an accurate representation of the United States flag and an accurate representation of the Wyoming state flag.

Status:Open
Action: 2018-03-06 – Placed on General File

Louisiana Senate Bill 22

Not later than the 2019-2020 school year, the program of instruction on patriotic customs required by this Section shall include instruction on the national motto, “In God We Trust”, and each public school governing authority shall display the national motto in each building it uses and in each school under
its jurisdiction.

Status: Introduced on March 1 2018 – 25% progression
Action: 2018-03-01 – Prefiled and under the rules provisionally referred to the Committee on Education.
Pending: Moved debate on Full Senate.

 

Minnesota Senate Bill 3061

 

(a) To the extent funds are available, a school board must provide a durable poster or

framed copy of the national motto of the United States, “In God We Trust,” for display in

each school building in the district. A school board may accept nonpublic funds or in-kind

contributions to implement this section.

(b) In the event the display of the national motto is challenged in court, the Office of

the Attorney General must defend the display. The school and school board shall be held

harmless for complying with this section

Action: 2018-03-08 – Referred to E-12 Policy
Pending: Senate E-12 Policy Committee

As you can see all of these are aimed at placing “In God We Trust” in public schools.  Many of them use the exact same wording as the bill that passed the Arkansas legislature last year.

This is just unacceptable.

If you want to contact your state legislator about these bills, we have created an open letter you can use to make your voice heard.

Now more than ever we need your help to get our posters up instead of those that will be donated by religious organizations. To this end, the Original Motto Project is developing a poster that will meet the requirements of most of these bills.
If any of these bills pass we will be expanding out project to provide posters to all the states involved.

You can help us out by going to our fundraising page.

 

***Edited 3-21-18 to include ***

Robert Ray

Robert is the founder of The Original Motto Project. He is a avid secular activist that likes to dabble into small electronics in his spare time. He and his wife Amy co-host the Secular Yakking podcast. He lives in the Puget sound with his wife and 3 daughters.