Texas school Ten Commandments display bill fails.

Republican Lawmakers Fail to Pass Bill Requiring Ten Commandments in Texas Schools

Republican lawmakers in Texas have failed to pass a bill that would have required public schools to display the Ten Commandments in classrooms. The bill was approved by the state Senate in a 17-12 vote along party lines, but a midnight deadline passed without a final vote on the legislation, effectively killing it for this session, according to the Texas Tribune.

The Bill’s Demands

The text of Senate Bill 1515, proposed by state Sen. Phil King (R), demanded each public school classroom display “in a conscious place” a copy of the Ten Commandments “in a size and typeface that is legible to a person with average vision from anywhere in the classroom.”

While proponents pointed to a Supreme Court ruling last year in a public school prayer case as justification, critics of the bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), raised concerns about preserving the separation of church and state.

Opposition to the Bill

“This bill was an unconstitutional attack on our core liberties that threatened the freedom of and from religion we hold dear as Texans. It should never have gotten this close to passage,” ACLU of Texas lawyer David Donatti said in a statement.

Democrats who opposed the bill were able to employ a delay tactic known locally as “chubbing,” in which members debate legislation to run out the clock, according to The New York Times. Their strategy was effective in preventing the GOP-led state House from getting to a vote on a number of bills.

What Supporters Said

“I think this would be a good healthy step for Texas to bring back this tradition of recognizing America’s religious heritage,” King said, per Fox 26 Houston.

“Senate Bill 1515 restores a little bit of those religious liberties that were lost and most importantly will remind students all across Texas of the importance of a fundamental foundation of America and Texas law and that being the 10 commandments,” he added.

Final Thoughts

While the bill may have had vocal support from Texas Republican Lt. Governor Ken Paxton, it ultimately failed to pass. Critics of the bill argued that it would have violated the separation of church and state, while supporters saw it as a way to recognize America’s religious heritage. Regardless of one’s stance on the issue, it is clear that the debate over the role of religion in public schools is far from over.

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