AN ACT

 

1Providing for the display of the national motto "In God We
2Trust" in classrooms and other areas in public school
3buildings.

4The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
5hereby enacts as follows:

6Section 1. Short title.

7This act shall be known and may be cited as the National
8Motto Display Act.

9Section 2. Legislative findings and declarations.

10The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:

11(1) The motto "In God We Trust" is part of the history
12and heritage of the United States. On April 22, 2014, we will
13celebrate the 150th anniversary of our national motto "In God
14We Trust" on our coins. Although this phrase was not
15officially established as our national motto until a law was
16passed by the 84th Congress and approved by President
17Eisenhower, it was first introduced to the nation by Francis

1Scott Key in 1814 as words that would be included in our
2national anthem.

3(2) It was a Pennsylvanian however, that installed those
4words on our coins. James Pollock from Milton, Pennsylvania,
5became our 13th governor serving from 1855 to 1858. He was
6known as "The Great Christian Governor." Prior to Pollock's
7term as Governor and as one of the original trustees when The
8Pennsylvania State University became a charter, he served as
9a member of the Congress of the United States and became
10friends with then congressman, Abraham Lincoln. When Lincoln
11became president, he appointed Pollock director of the United
12States Mint.

13(3) Pollock suggested the motto "In God We Trust" be
14featured on all United States currency. This practice first
15occurred in April of 1864 when Congress approved the use of
16the motto on United States two-cent pieces. Since then, the
17motto has been inscribed on most denominations of coins in an
18uninterrupted period of time extending from the present back
19to 1916.

20(4) In 1956, the Congress of the United States adopted
21the motto "In God We Trust" as the national motto. It is
22currently codified at 36 U.S.C. § 302 (relating to national
23motto). Since 1957, the United States Bureau of Engraving and
24Printing has gradually incorporated the motto in the design
25on the reverse of all paper currency.

26(5) On July 24, 2000, the United States House of
27Representatives, along with the concurrence of the Senate,
28unanimously resolved to encourage the display of the national
29motto of the United States in public buildings throughout the
30nation.

1(6) To increase student understanding of and familiarity
2with American historical documents, historically important
3excerpts from or copies of the documents should be
4prominently displayed in public school buildings.

5(7) The Federal 5th, 9th and 10th Circuit Courts have
6ruled that displaying the national motto passes
7constitutional muster so long as the purpose of the display
8is to advance or endorse the national motto rather than a
9particular religious belief or practice.

10Section 3. Display of motto.

11(a) Board of directors.--The board of directors of every
12school district in this Commonwealth shall display the motto "In
13God We Trust," which is declared in 36 U.S.C. § 302 (relating to
14national motto) to be the national motto of the United States,
15in each school building.

16(b) Form.--The display of the motto "In God We Trust" may
17take the form of, but is not limited to, a mounted plaque or may
18include artwork as a result of a student contest that will be
19prominently displayed in each school building.

20Section 20. Effective date.

21This act shall take effect in 60 days.

 

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