“In God We Trust” appears on a U.S. silver coin. (Photo credit: Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator)
House lawmakers passed a bill Monday that would require all public and charter school classrooms to display a poster with the motto “In God We Trust.”
House Bill 8, sponsored by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, passed the chamber in a 98-4 vote. It will next head to the Senate for consideration.
The proposed law requires the motto to be displayed on a poster or framed document that is at least 11 by 14 inches and “be printed in a large, easily readable font.”
Horton fended off a floor amendment from Rep. Barry Ivey, R-Central, that would have changed the poster size requirements to 8.5 by 14 inches, which is the size of legal paper. Ivey said it would make it easier for schools to print out the signs with common printers.
After fielding several questions on the House floor, Ivey said he never imagined how 2.5 inches could be so controversial. In response, Horton held up one of the posters and said the size does matter.
Although that amendment failed, Ivey managed to gain approval for another amendment to include charter schools in the bill.
Horton’s proposal would amend an existing statute that requires schools to display the motto in every building and teach fifth-graders about it and other “patriotic customs,” such as how to properly display an American flag.
School systems could purchase the signs with their own money or with donations, but they are not required to spend public funds on them.
The phrase “In God We Trust” first appeared in the United States in 1864 on the 2-cent coin. President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation to adopt it as the national motto in 1956, and it was placed on paper currency in 1957.
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