Not the Bills Again

It’s that time of year again, snow is on the ground, the air is cold and legislators are pre-filing bills for the next session.

And just like last year,  there won’t be a shortage of bill promoting in public .


Lets start with Missouri.


This is has been filed by Republican Mike Moon.  You might remember Mike Moon for his odd video last year where he cuts off a chicken’s head just before heading into special session in an attempt to limit women’s rights in Missouri.
171.024. 1. To the extent sufficient donations under subsection 2 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) 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.
 

https://legiscan.com/MO/text/HB274/2019

 

This is essentially a carbon copy of several bills passed by other states last year.

On to South Carolina.

They are taking a slightly different path to putting religious phrases on public school buildings.  The bill adds in the state motto as well.

 

A BILL

 

TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 59-1-325 SO AS TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MAKE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO REQUIRE THE DISPLAY OF THE OFFICIAL MOTTOES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND SOUTH CAROLINA.Whereas, July 30, 2016, marked the 60th anniversary of “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States; and

Whereas, in 2011, by resolution of the United States House of Representatives, with the concurrence of the United States Senate, the United States Congress reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States and supported and encouraged the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other governmental institutions; and

Whereas, “In God We Trust” appears over the south entrance to the United States Senate Chamber and above the Speaker’s rostrum in the Chamber of the United States House of Representatives; and

Whereas, the motto has been an integral part of the society of the United States since its founding and first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864; and

Whereas, “Dum Spiro Spero,” which translates to “While I breathe, I hope” is perhaps the most well-known of South Carolina’s two mottoes and appears on the State Seal that was adopted in 1776; and

Whereas, reflecting the character and beliefs of the citizens of South Carolina, “Dum Spiro Spero” illustrates the inherent spirit of South Carolinians to overcome obstacles and face each day with the courage and determination to do what is just in the face of adversity. Now, therefore:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION    1.    Article 5, Chapter 1, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 59-1-325.    The State Board of Education shall make rules and regulations for the display of ‘In God We Trust,’ the official motto of the United States, and ‘Dum Spiro Spero,’ the official motto of South Carolina. The person at the head of a public school shall ensure that the mottoes are displayed in the manner adopted by the State Board of Education.”

SECTION    2.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

https://legiscan.com/SC/text/H3235/2019

This bill, however, has some language that is not historically accurate.

“Whereas, the motto has been an integral part of the society of the United States since its founding”

This phrase is far from being a part of the founding.  At best it first appeared in 1864, some 80 years after the founding.

 

And finally Utah.

They are trying to sneak this in under a much larger bill that amends the current education statutes in Utah.

53G-10-302. Instruction in American history and government — Study and
posting of American heritage documents.
(1) The Legislature recognizes that a proper understanding of American history and
government is essential to good citizenship, and that the public schools are the primary public
institutions charged with responsibility for assisting children and youth in gaining that
understanding.
(2) (a) The [State Board of Education] state board and local school boards shall
periodically review school curricula and activities to ensure that effective instruction in
American history and government is taking place in the public schools.
(b) The boards shall solicit public input as part of the review process.
(c) Instruction in American history and government shall include a study of:
(i) forms of government, such as a republic, a pure democracy, a monarchy, and an
oligarchy;
(ii) political philosophies and economic systems, such as socialism, individualism, and
free market capitalism; and
(iii) the United States’ form of government, a compound constitutional republic.
(3) School curricula and activities shall include a thorough study of historical
documents such as:
(a) the Declaration of Independence;
(b) the United States Constitution;
(c) the national motto;
(d) the pledge of allegiance;
(e) the national anthem;
(f) the Mayflower Compact;
(g) the writings, speeches, documents, and proclamations of the Founders and the
Presidents of the United States;
(h) organic documents from the pre-Colonial, Colonial, Revolutionary, Federalist, and
post Federalist eras;
(i) United States Supreme Court decisions;
(j) Acts of the United States Congress, including the published text of the
Congressional Record; and
(k) United States treaties.
(4) To increase student understanding of, and familiarity with, American historical
documents, public schools may display historically important excerpts from, or copies of, those
documents in school classrooms and common areas as appropriate.
(5) There shall be no content-based censorship of American history and heritage
documents referred to in this section due to their religious or cultural nature.
(6) Public schools shall display “In God we trust,” which is declared in 36 U.S.C. 302
to be the national motto of the United States, in one or more prominent places within each
school building
https://legiscan.com/UT/text/HB0028/2019

What strikes me as interesting here is section 5

There shall be no content-based censorship of American history and heritage
documents referred to in this section due to their religious or cultural nature.

Essentially they are saying if you have you don’t like the religious nature of the motto, too bad.

Well there you have it.  The first of what we assume will be many pieces of to put more religious phrases in public schools.

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.