Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Idaho Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Allowed Bible To Be Used For Reference In Public Schools

Earlier this month, Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter vetoed S1342 (full text) which would have explicitly permitted religious texts, including the Bible,
to be used in Idaho public schools for reference purposes to further the study of literature, comparative religion, English and foreign languages, United States and world history, comparative government, law, philosophy, ethics, world geography, archaeology, music, sociology, and other topics of study where an under standing of religious texts, including the Bible, may be useful or relevant.
An amendment had deleted a reference to geology, astronomy and biology courses. (Spokane Spokesman-Review, April 5).

In his April 5 veto message (full text), Otter said that the bill "is in direct contravention to the Idaho Constitution, and it could result in a loss of funding and costly litigation for Idaho public schools." Art. 9, Sec. 6 of the state constitution specifically prohibits "books, papers, tracts or documents of a political, sectarian or denominational character" from being used in any public school, and calls for a cut off of funding for schools that do not comply.  As reported earlier this month by Idaho Education News, Otter issued his veto a week after the legislature adjourned.