The ACLU of Idaho raised constitutional concerns before bill allowing for use of the Bible in science classes was vetoed by Gov. Otter.
BOISE, Idaho – The ACLU of Idaho praises Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s recent decision to veto SB 1342a, legislation that would have allowed the use of the Bible in science classes at Idaho’s public schools. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Nuxoll-R of District 7, posed significant constitutional concerns. The federal and state Constitutions prohibit both the use of religious texts in science classes and favoring one religious source such as the Bible over other religious texts.
“The Governor did the right thing and we thank him for protecting Idaho’s Constitution,” said Kathy Griesmyer, ACLU of Idaho’s Public Policy Strategist. “Idaho students and parents need to have a guarantee that their First Amendment rights are preserved in the classroom.”
The ACLU of Idaho sent a letter to the Governor asking him to veto the bill, stating “The risk of potential litigation presented by SB 1342a will remain an ongoing liability for teachers, schools, and school districts across the state that should be utilizing their limited resources for educational purposes—not defending constitutionally questionable legislation.” The Governor’s veto message echoed those statements. “[Allowing SB 1342a to become law] could result in a loss of funding and costly litigation for Idaho public schools.”
Leo Morales, Executive Director of the ACLU of Idaho stated: “Now we can rest assured that Idaho’s schools will operate within constitutional regulations.”