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Louisiana legislators pass bill to require public schools to display the Ten Commandments

NEW ORLEANS (CBS, KYMA/KECY) - Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry could soon sign a bill that would make Louisiana the first state to require public schools display the Ten Commandments.

It passed the Senate last week in a 30-to-8 vote, but opposing lawmakers say the bill will bring legal challenges.

"It's a lawsuit waiting to happen, I think we are going to likely lose in court," said Royce Duplessis (D), Louisiana State Senator.

Duplessis says it's only a matter of time before someone sues the state if the Ten Commandments bill, House Bill (HB) 71, gets signed into law.

"That's why we have a separation of church and state, we learned the ten commandments when we went to Sunday school and as I said on the senate floor if you want your kids to learn the ten commandments you can take them to church."

Sen. Royce Duplessis (D-LA)

"It was always on the wall"

In a 30-to-8 vote Thursday, the Senate passed the bill that would require public universities and K-12 schools to display the commandments in every classroom. It would make Louisiana the first state to do so.

"I hope and I pray that Louisiana is the first state to allow moral code to be placed back in the classrooms," said Dodie Horton (R), Louisiana State Representative.

Horton authored the bill and defened it by saying the Commandments are the basis of all laws in Louisiana.

"It was always on the wall. I learned there was a God, and I knew to honor him and his laws," Horton spoke.

Eating up resources

But those who oppose say the bill violates the first amendment which prohibits the government from establishing religion.

"I learned about Islam at Holy Cross Catholic School. I learned about the tenants of Judaism," said Mike Bayham (R), Louisiana State Representative, but when asked if Holy Cross was a public school, Bayham said, "No."

"We know that every child does not celebrate, or that the Ten Commandments is a part of their faith, and we shouldn't isolate or make any kid feel like their faith doesn't matter," Duplessis expressed.

Duplessis believes, if signed, the state will eat up resources defending the new law while saying, "You don't have to be a constitutional scholar to see that this is problematic, and it flies in the face of the First Amendment."

In the 2023 legislative session, the bill's author successfully passed a bill making Louisiana the first state to require classrooms to display the U.S. motto "In God We Trust."

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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