ECSheading
From the ECS State Policy Database
Religion


Education Commission of the States • 700 Broadway, Suite 810 • Denver, CO 80203-3442 • 303.299.3600 • fax 303.296.8332 • www.ecs.org

This database is made possible by your state's fiscal support of the Education Commission of the States (ECS). Most entries are legislative, although rules/regulations and executive orders that make substantive changes are included. Every effort is made to collect the latest available version of policies; in some instances, recent changes might not be reflected. For expediency purposes minimal attention has been paid to style (capitalization, punctuation) and format.

Please cite use of the database as: Education Commission of the States (ECS) State Policy Database, retrieved [date].

State Status/Date Level Summary
NCSigned into law 06/2014Postsec.Recognition and Rights of Religious and Political Student Organizations
S.B. 719
Prohibits constituent institutions and community colleges from denying recognition to religious or political student organizations. Allows religious or political student organizations establish the organization's faith or mission, allow only persons professing...

More...
NCSigned into law 06/2014P-12Student Prayer and Religious Activity
S.B. 370
Clarifies student rights to engage in prayer and religious activity, express religious viewpoints, share religious viewpoints, and organize religious clubs in public schools. Allows local school boards to create a grievance process and establishes a complaint ...

More...
OHSigned into law 06/2014P-12Release Time for Religious Instruction
H.B. 171
Permits public school students to attend and receive credit for released time courses in religious instruction conducted off school property during regular school hours. Provides that while attending a released time course in religious instruction, a student m...

More...
LASigned into law 06/2014P-12Traditional Winter Celebrations in Public Schools
H.B. 876
Permits school boards to educate students about the history of traditional celebrations in winter and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations. Permits a school board to display on school property scenes or sy...

More...
MOSigned into law 05/2014P-12Religious Liberties Act
H.B. 1303
Establishes the Missouri Student Religious Liberties Act, which prohibits a school district from discriminating against a student or parent on the basis of religious viewpoint or expression. Allows students to express their religious beliefs in homework, artwo...

More...
OKSigned into law 05/2014Postsec.Student's Exercise of Religion
H.B. 2873
Adds new sections of law that prohibit a public institution of higher education from denying a religious student association certain benefits; prohibiting a public institution of higher education from substantially
burdening a student's exercise of religion; ...

More...
VAVetoed 04/2014P-12Religious Viewpoint Expression
S.B. 236
Codifies the right of students to (i) voluntarily pray or engage in religious activities or religious expression before, during, and after the school day in the same manner and to the same extent that students may engage in nonreligious activities or expressio...

More...
TNSigned into law 04/2014P-12Religious Freedom
H.B. 1547
Mandates that a Local Education Agency (LEA) shall treat a student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the LEA treats a student's voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an othe...

More...
MOSigned into law 07/2013P-12Use of Books of a Religious Nature in Schools
S.B. 17
Provides that books of a religious nature may be used as part of instruction in elective courses in literature and history, so long as the books are not used in a manner that violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constit...

More...
TXSigned into law 06/2013P-12School District Recognition of Traditional Winter Celebrations
H.B. 308
Permits school districts to educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations, and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, including "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Hanukkah". Permits a dist...

More...
CASigned into law 05/2013Postsec.Sikhism in Postsecondary Instruction
A.C.R. 20
Recognizes the need for the inclusion of Sikhism in world religions, Eastern religions, Asian, and South Asian courses at all postsecondary educational institutions, such as University of California, California
State University, and California Community Colle...

More...
ARSigned into law 04/2013P-12Bible Course
H.B. 1017
Allows school districts to adopt curriculum standards for an academic study of The Bible course that may be offered as an elective course.
http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2013/2013R/Bills/HB1017.pdf...

More...
IDSigned into law 03/2013Postsec.Equal Campus Freedoms for Religious Groups
S.B. 1078
Provides an amendement so that no state postsecondary educational institution will take any action or enforce any policy that would deny a religious student group any benefit available to any other student group based on the religious student group's requireme...

More...
MSSigned into law 03/2013P-12Mississippi Student Religious Liberties Act of 2013
S.B. 2633
Provides for voluntary student expression of religious viewpoints in public schools. Requires public school districts to allow religious expression in class assignments, to organize religious groups and activitives, and provide a limited public forum for stud...

More...
ILSigned into law 08/2012Postsec.Postsecondary Students and Religious Observance
S.B. 2949
Requires that any student who, because of his/her religious beliefs, is unable to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day, be excused from any such examination, study, or work requirement and be provi...

More...
TNVetoed 05/2012Postsec.Student Organizations
S.B. 3597
Prohibits state higher education institutions and private institutions receiving more than $24 million in state subsidies from denying equal access or fair opportunity to any student organization on basis of religious content. Provides religious student organi...

More...
CASigned into law 10/2011Postsec."Undue Hardship" in Terms of Rescheduling College Exam to Accommodate Religious Observance
A.B. 668
Defines "undue hardship" for purposes of allowing a student at a California State University campus to take an exam when that activity would not violate the student's religious creed, except when it would impose an undue hardship that could not reasonably have...

More...
OHSigned into law 06/2011Postsec.Prohibition of Denying Benefits to a Religious Student Group
H.B. 153 - Prohibition of Denying Benefits to a Religious Student Group
Prohibits a state institution of higher education from taking any action or enforcing any policy that would deny a religious student group any benefit available to any other student group based on the religious
student group's requirement that its leaders or m...

More...
AZSigned into law 04/2011Postsec.
Community College
Religious Discrimation
H.B. 2565
Prohibits public universities and community colleges from discriminating against, adopting policies that penalize or punish, or withholding a certificate or degree from a student based on the student's religious viewpoint, expression or belief. Specifies cour...

More...
NCSigned into law 07/2010P-12
Postsec.
Community College
Excused Absences For Religious Observances
H.B. 357
Requires principals, community colleges and universities to authorize a minimum of two excused absences each academic year for religious observances required by the faith of a student or the student's parents; provides that the student's parents may be require...

More...
SCSigned into law 05/2010P-12Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act
S.B. 134
Requires school districts to treat a student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject in the same manner the district treats a student's voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise pe...

More...
OKSigned into law 05/2010P-12High School Course on the Bible
H.B. 2321
Authorizes districts to offer an elective high school course on the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and its impact and an elective course on the New Testament and its impact; or an elective course that teaches students knowledge of biblical content, characte...

More...
AZSigned into law 07/2009P-12Religious liberty
H.B. 2357
Creates the Students' Religious Liberties Act; prohibits a public educational institution from discriminating against students or parents on the basis of a religious viewpoint or religious expression; permits students to participate in prayer or engage in reli...

More...
OKSigned into law 04/2009P-12Founding Documents; Religious Materials
H.B. 1756
Directs each school district to adopt a policy, with grade-level-appropriate instructional levels, that assures that all students are encouraged, and have the opportunity, to read and study the founding documents of America that are pertinent to understanding ...

More...
LASigned into law 06/2008P-12Science Education and Instruction
S.B. 733
Creates the Science Education Act; relates to curriculum and instruction in public elementary and secondary schools; provides that, upon request of a city, parish, or school board, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall allow and assist te...

More...
TNSigned into law 06/2008P-12Nonreligious Academic Study of the Bible
S.B. 4104
Authorizes the state board of education to approve a curriculum for an elective state-funded course of a nonsectarian, nonreligious academic study of the Bible. Any LEA that elects to offer the Bible course and utilize an approved textbook would be required to...

More...
VASigned into law 05/2008P-12Religious Viewpoints
H.B. 1135
From fiscal impact statement: Provides that a student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint in homework, artwork or other written or oral assignments may not be
discriminated against based on the content of the submission but shall be judged by ordin...

More...
KYSigned into law 04/2008P-12Transportation of Nonpublic School Students
H.B. 655
By September 30 of each year, requires the secretary of the transportation cabinet to report to the general assembly's interim committee on appropriations and revenue the following information for those fiscal court applications received by the transportation ...

More...
NJSigned into law 03/2008Postsec.
Community College
Alternative Testing Arrangements
S.B. 1023
Pertains to institutions of higher education. Requires alternative testing arrangements be provided to certain students unable to attend tests at their regular administration due to religious observance.
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2008/Bills/S1500/1023_I1.PD...

More...
ILVeto overridden: legislature has overridden governor's veto 10/2007P-12Period of Silence
S.B. 1463
Amends the Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act. Provides that a teacher must observe a brief period of silence at the opening of every school day with the participation of all pupils assembled. Provides that this period may not be conducted as a religious...

More...
SCSigned into law 06/2007P-12Teaching History and Literature of the Old Testament
S.B. 726
Provides that the board of trustees of any state school district may offer an elective course teaching the history and literature of the Old Testament era and an elective course teaching the history and literature of the New Testament era; provides that such c...

More...
TXSigned into law 06/2007P-12Religious Expression at School
H.B. 3678
Clarifies the first amendment rights of students at school by codifying current court decisions regarding religious expression and by authorizing the school district to adopt and implement a policy that establishes a limited public forum, provides certain disc...

More...
TXSigned into law 05/2007P-12Elective Course in Religion
H.B. 1287
Authorizes districts to offer to students in grade nine or above an elective course on the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and its impact and an elective course on the New
Testament and its impact, or an elective course that combines those two courses. (b) P...

More...
MISigned into law 09/2006Postsec.
Community College
Religious College State Regulation Exemption
H.B. 6016
Exempts religious colleges from state regulation of educational programs offering degrees, diplomas or
certificates based on education beyond high school, or education for transfer to institutions of higher learning. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/200...

More...
MISigned into law 09/2006Postsec.
Community College
Religious or Ecclesiastical Educational Corporations
H.B. 6014
Revises the provisions of existing law regulating educational corporations; provides for an educational corporation classification to include those that are instituted and maintained by an ecclesiastical or religious order, society, corporation, or corporation...

More...
NYSigned into law 07/2006P-12Assessments on days of Religious Observation
A.B. 11550
Directs the board of regents to schedule any state mandated examinations on days other than days of religious observation....

More...
OHSigned into law 05/2006P-12Posting of Ohio and U.S. Mottos
H.B. 184
Requires school districts and community schools that receive donated copies of mottoes of the United State of America or the state of Ohio to display the mottoes in school buildings.
U.S. motto: "In God We Trust" Ohio motto: "With God, All Things Are Possible"...

More...
GASigned into law 04/2006P-12Courses on the Old and New Testament
S.B. 79
Authorizes high schools to offer elective courses in the History and Literature of the Old Testament Era and the History and Literature of the New Testament
Era. Requires the state board, by February 2007, to adopt a curriculum for each course, including obje...

More...
VAVetoed 04/2006P-12Guidelines for Graduation Ceremonies
H.B. 493
Relates to high school baccalaureate ceremonies; includes school division sanctioning of high school baccalaureate ceremonies among the prayer-oriented school activities for which the Board of Education, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General,...

More...
VASigned into law 03/2006P-12Comparative Religion Class Authority
S.B. 62, H.B. 215
Reallocates the duty to authorize a comparative religion class from local school boards to the Board of Education. In the process of revising the Standards of Quality, language was inadvertently altered during the 2004 Session.
http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin...

More...
NVDied 03/2006P-12Truth in Science Initiative
Initiative Petition
The Truth in Science Initiative (Initiative) proposes to add a new section to the Constitution regarding
how evolution is to be taught in the state's schools. Under the Initiative, students must be informed that
although most scientists agree that Darwin's the...

More...
GASigned into law 05/2005P-12Prayer and Private Schools
H.B. 678
Provides that state law may not prohibit a private school from conducting a prayer prior to an athletic event held on the campus of the private school; and that athletic teams from public schools cannot be prohibited from participating in an athletic event hel...

More...
CASigned into law 09/2004P-12Curriculum Excusal on Religious Grounds
A.B. 2525 (multiple provisions)
Provides that if any part of a school's instruction in health conflicts with the religious training and beliefs of a parent or guardian of a pupil, the pupil, upon the parent or guardian's written request, shall be excused from the part of the instruction that...

More...
OKSigned into law 05/2004P-12In God We Trust and E Pluribus Unum
H.B. 2477
Part of this bill adds a new section of law to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 24-106.1 of Title 70, unless there is created a duplication in numbering, reads as follows: Principals and teachers in each public elementary and secondary school of...

More...
TXSigned into law 06/2003Postsec.Religious Holy Day Excused Absences
H.B. 256
Relates to excused absences for religious holy days for students in institutions of higher education. An institution of higher education must excuse a student from attending classes or other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a...

More...
TXSigned into law 05/2003P-12
Postsec.
United States National Motto Display in Schools
H.B. 219
Relates to the display of the United States national motto in public elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education....

More...
TXSigned into law 05/2003P-12Observance of One Minute of Silence
S.B. 83
Relates to the observance of one minute of silence during the school day in public schools; provides the board of trustees of each school district shall provide for the observance of one minute of silence during each school day at each school in the district....

More...
TXSigned into law 05/2003P-12Observance of One Minute of Silence
S.B. 83
Requires the board of trustees of each school district to provide for the observance of one minute of silence during each school day at each school in the district. Also requires local boards to require require students, once during each school day at each sc...

More...
NDSigned into law 04/2003P-12National Motto in Schools
H.B. 1325
Allows the display of the national motto "In God We Trust" in schools. http://www.state.nd.us/lr/assembly/58-2003/bill_text/DBBK0300.pdf...

More...
KYSigned into law 03/2003Postsec.Student Financial Aid
H.B. 40
Deletes references that prohibit the use of student financial aid funds, including Education Excellence Scholarship funds, for students who plan to major in theology, divinity, or religious education. http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/RECORD/03RS/HB40/bill.doc...

More...
UTAdopted 09/2002P-12Patriotic Education
R277-475
Requires Utah public schools to display the United States national motto, consistent with state law. UTAH REG 25218 (SN)...

More...
ILSigned into law 06/2002P-12Silent Reflection Act
H.B. 4117
Amends the Silent Reflection Act. Changes the short title of the Act to the Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act. Allows students in the public schools to voluntarily engage in individually initiated, non-disruptive prayer that is not sponsored, promoted, ...

More...
SCSigned into law 06/2002P-12Graduation Messages
H.B. 4683
Authorizes the governing body of a school board or school district to adopt a policy that permits the use of a brief opening or closing message by a student at a high school graduation exercise; provides the conditions under which this message may be delivered...

More...
OKSigned into law 05/2002P-12Moment of Silence
S.B. 815
The each board of education is required to ensure that the public schools within the district observe approximately one minute of silence each day for the purpose of allowing each student, in the exercise of his or her individual choice, to reflect, meditate, ...

More...
FLSigned into law 05/2002P-12Education Code Re-Write: Federal Religious Expression in Public Schools Guidelines
S.B. 20E
Requires department to annually distribute to all local board members, superintendents principals and teachers the complete guidelines on "Religious Expression in Public Schools" published by the U.S. Department of Education. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/data/se...

More...
MDSigned into law 05/2002P-12
Postsec.
Purchasing of Materials for Private K-12 and Postsecondary Schools
H.B. 779
Authorizes the Department of General Services to purchase materials, supplies and equipment on behalf of specified private elementary and secondary schools; prohibits the Departments of General Services from purchasing religious materials on behalf of a privat...

More...
OHSigned into law 04/2002P-12Moment of Silence
H.B. 394
Permits the board of education of a school district to provide for a period of silence each school day for reflection or meditation upon a moral, philosophical, or patriotic theme; prohibits boards of education, schools, or employees of the school district fro...

More...
LAVetoed 04/2002P-12Voluntary Student Prayer in Bossier Parish
H.B. 22A
Forbids any public elementary or secondary school student in Bossier Parish to be prohibited from participating in voluntary, student-initiated, student-led prayer at any time before, during or after the school day as long as such prayer is nonsectarian, nonco...

More...
LASigned into law 04/2002P-12Silent Prayer or Meditation
H.B. 13A
Requires that school prayer or meditation be silent....

More...
ALSigned into law 03/2002P-12The Use of "In God We Trust" in Schools.
S.J.R. 86
Urges the State Superintendent of Education and State Board of Education to encourage principals and teachers in public schools to display the national motto, "In God We Trust". http://alisdb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/searchableinstruments/2002rs/resolution...

More...
VASigned into law 03/2002P-12Posting "In God We Trust"
H.B. 108, S.B. 608
Requires all school boards to post the statement, "In God We Trust, the national motto, enacted by Congress in 1956," prominently and in a conspicuous place, in each of their schools for all students to read. Governor's recommendations were to change language...

More...
OKSigned into law 05/2001P-12Moment of Silence, Pledge of Allegiance
S.B. 128
Relates to schools; designates November 11 as Veterans Day; requires public schools to conduct and observe Veterans Day programs; allows schools to conduct a moment of silence for certain purpose; requires certain instruction in United States flag etiquette an...

More...
ALSigned into law 05/2001P-12Quiet Reflection
H.B. 200
Relates to school athletic events and graduation ceremonies; provides a brief period of quiet reflection required at the opening of school athletic events and graduation ceremonies; deletes language stating that provisions relating to the period of quiet refle...

More...
MTSigned into law 05/2001P-12Student Release Time For Religious Instruction
H.B. 272
Allows a school district to be determine the amount of time for which a student may be released from school for religious instruction....

More...
NDSigned into law 04/2001P-12Ten Commandments
S.B. 2177
Relates to the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools and public school buildings and events....

More...
NDSigned into law 04/2001P-12Religious and secular speech in schools
H.B. 1437
Relates to religious and secular speech in schools and repeals section relating to periods of silence during a school day....

More...
MSSigned into law 03/2001P-12Requirement for Daily Period of Quiet Reflection
H.B. 51
Authorizes a brief period of quiet reflection in public school classrooms; authorizes and directs principals and teachers in public elementary and secondary schools to display the "In God We Trust" motto of the United States of America in each classroom, schoo...

More...
VASigned into law 02/2001P-12Religion Classes
S.B. 1391
Requires the Board of Education to authorize, as an elective in grades 9 through 12 with appropriate credits toward graduation, a comparative religion class that focuses on the basic tenets, history, and religious observances and rites of world religions in th...

More...
FLSigned into law 06/2000P-12
Postsec.
Community/Faith Based Cooperation
S.B. 406
Creates Community and Faith-based Organizations initiative within Institute on Urban Policy and Commerce at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University; provides for initiative to promote community development through partnerships with community and faith-...

More...
INSigned into law 04/2000P-12Ten Commandments
H.B. 1180
Authorizes the display of the Ten Commandments on real property owned by the state or a political subdivision as part of an exihibit displaying other documents of historical significance that formed and influenced the United States legal or governmental system...

More...
KYSigned into law 04/2000P-12Ten Commandments and Other Historical documents
S.J.R. 57
Requests the Kentucky Board Of Education to encourage teachers and school administrators to post and teach from historic displays of original documents reflecting American history, which may include the Ten Commandments; permits cost of posting and maintaining...

More...
VASigned into law 04/2000P-12Moment of Silence/Prayer
S.B. 209
Requires school boards to establish daily moments of silence for meditation, prayer or other silent activity in every classroom in the public schools of Virginia. No other activities may be allowed during this time. The Office of the Attorney General must p...

More...
SDSigned into law 03/2000P-12Ten Commandments
H.B. 1261
Permits schools to display the Ten Commandments....

More...
KYSigned into law 03/2000P-12Ten Commandments
H.B. 662
Requires a liability insurer to pay according to the terms of the policy an insured who is sued for posting the Ten Commandments in a public school building; provides that such posting is not an illegal act but a legal posting of a historical document....

More...