Texas Bill Requiring Schools To Display Ten Commandments Fails
A six-foot high tablet of the Ten Commandments, which is located on the grounds of the Texas Capitol Building in Austin, Texas, is seen on February 28, 2005.
(Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images)

Republican lawmakers in Texas failed to pass a bill requiring public schools to display the Ten Commandments in classrooms.

A midnight deadline came and went at the end of Tuesday without a final vote on the legislation, which means it is effectively dead with this session coming to a close, the Texas Tribune reported. The bill was approved by the state Senate in a 17-12 vote along party lines and had the vocal support of Texas Republican Lt. Governor Ken Paxton.

The text of Senate Bill 1515, proposed by state Sen. Phil King (R), demanded each public school classroom display “in a conscious place” a copy of the Ten Commandments “in a size and typeface that is legible to a person with average vision from anywhere in the classroom.”

“I think this would be a good healthy step for Texas to bring back this tradition of recognizing America’s religious heritage,” King said, per Fox 26 Houston.

“Senate Bill 1515 restores a little bit of those religious liberties that were lost and most importantly will remind students all across Texas of the importance of a fundamental foundation of America and Texas law and that being the 10 commandments,” he added.

While proponents pointed to a Supreme Court ruling last year in a public school prayer case as justification, critics of the bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), raised concerns about preserving the separation of church and state.

“This bill was an unconstitutional attack on our core liberties that threatened the freedom of and from religion we hold dear as Texans. It should never have gotten this close to passage,” ACLU of Texas lawyer David Donatti said in a statement.


“Whether trying to place the Ten Commandments in every classroom or replacing school counselors with unlicensed chaplains, certain Texas lawmakers have launched a coordinated effort to force state-sponsored religion into our public schools,” Donatti added. “We cannot overlook their attempts to push legislation that would sanction religious discrimination and bullying. The First Amendment guarantees families and faith communities — not politicians or the government — the right to instill religious beliefs in their children.”

Democrats who opposed the bill were able to employ a delay tactic known locally as “chubbing,” in which members debate legislation to run out the clock, according to The New York Times. Their strategy was effective in preventing the GOP-led state House from getting to a vote on a number of bills.

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