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SENATE AMENDED
PRIOR PRINTER'S NOS. 2388, 3197
PRINTER'S NO. 3535
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
1640
Session of
2015
INTRODUCED BY DUSH, BAKER, V. BROWN, FARINA, GROVE, KAUFFMAN,
MAJOR, McGINNIS, MILLARD, MILNE, REESE, SACCONE, STAATS,
ZIMMERMAN, FEE, MOUL, BENNINGHOFF, GABLER, WARNER AND NELSON,
OCTOBER 19, 2015
SENATOR SMUCKER, EDUCATION, IN SENATE, AS AMENDED, JUNE 15, 2016
AN ACT
Providing for the display of the national motto "In God We
Trust" and the Bill of Rights in classrooms and other areas
in public school buildings.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the National
Motto Display Act.
Section 2. Legislative findings and declarations.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) The motto "In God We Trust" is part of the history
and heritage of the United States. On April 22, 2014, we
celebrated the 150th anniversary of our national motto "In
God We Trust" on our coins. Although this phrase was not
officially established as our national motto until a law was
passed by the 84th Congress and approved by President
Eisenhower, it was first introduced to the nation by Francis
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Scott Key in 1814 as words that would be included in our
national anthem.
(2) It was a Pennsylvanian, however, that installed
those words on our coins. James Pollock from Milton,
Pennsylvania, became our 13th governor serving from 1855 to
1858. He was known as "The Great Christian Governor." Prior
to Pollock's term as Governor and as one of the original
trustees when The Pennsylvania State University became a
charter, he served as a member of the Congress of the United
States and became friends with then congressman, Abraham
Lincoln. When Lincoln became president, he appointed Pollock
director of the United States Mint.
(3) Pollock suggested the motto "In God We Trust" be
featured on all United States currency. This practice first
occurred in April of 1864 when Congress approved the use of
the motto on United States two-cent pieces. Since then, the
motto has been inscribed on most denominations of coins in an
uninterrupted period of time extending from 1916 to the
present.
(4) In 1956, the Congress of the United States adopted
the motto "In God We Trust" as the national motto. It is
currently codified at 36 U.S.C. § 302 (relating to national
motto). Since 1957, the United States Bureau of Engraving and
Printing has gradually incorporated the motto in the design
on the reverse of all paper currency.
(5) On July 24, 2000, the United States House of
Representatives, along with the concurrence of the Senate,
unanimously resolved to encourage the display of the national
motto of the United States in public buildings throughout the
nation.
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(6) To increase student understanding of and familiarity
with American historical documents, historically important
excerpts from or copies of the documents should be
prominently displayed in public school buildings.
(7) The Federal 5th, 9th and 10th Circuit Courts have
ruled that displaying the national motto passes
constitutional muster so long as the purpose of the display
is to advance or endorse the national motto rather than a
particular religious belief or practice.
Section 3. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"School entity." A school district, joint school district,
area vocational-technical school, intermediate unit, charter
school, regional charter school or cyber charter school.
Section 4. Display of motto.
(a) Board of directors.--Each GOVERNING BOARD.--THE
GOVERNING BOARD OF EACH school entity in this Commonwealth may
display the motto "In God We Trust," which is declared in 36
U.S.C. § 302 (relating to national motto) to be the national
motto of the United States, and the first ten amendments to the
Constitution of the United States, also known as the Bill of
Rights, in each school building.
(b) Form.--The display of the motto "In God We Trust" may
take the form of, but is not limited to, a mounted plaque or may
include artwork as a result of a student contest that may be
prominently displayed in each school building.
(c) Duties of secretary.--The Secretary of Education shall,
within 15 days of the effective date of this section and every
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five years thereafter, provide each school entity with
notification of the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) and
recommendations for promotion of the national motto in
accordance with this section.
Section 5. Effective date.
This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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