House bill NO. 745
INTRODUCED BY G. Kmetz
By Request of the ****
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT REVISING EDUCATION LAWS RELATED TO RELIGIOUS PRACTICES AND MATERIALS IN SCHOOLS; ALLOWING THE USE OF RELIGIOUS BOOKS DURING FREE READING AND FOR SELF-SELECTED READING REQUIREMENTS; EXPANDING AND CLARIFYING THE AUTHORIZATION OF PRAYER IN SCHOOLS; AMENDING SECTION 20-7-112, MCA; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 20-7-112, MCA, is amended to read:
"20-7-112. Sectarian publications prohibited and -- religious materials allowed -- prayer permitted. (1) (a) A publication of a sectarian or denominational character may not be distributed in any school. Instruction may not be given advocating sectarian or denominational doctrines. However, any teacher, principal, or superintendent may open the school day with a prayer.
(b) This section subsection (1) does not prohibit:
(i) a school library from including the Bible or other religious material having cultural, historical, or educational significance; or
(ii) a pupil from reading from the Bible or other religious material during free reading time.
(c) If a school, class, or course has requirements for self-selected reading, a pupil must be allowed to read from the Bible or other religious material to meet those requirements.
(2) Prayer is permitted in a school, on school grounds, and at school-sponsored events, but a person may not be compelled to pray. The school day may begin with a prayer."
Section 2. Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 2023.
New language in a bill appears underlined, deleted material appears stricken.
Sponsor names are handwritten on introduced bills, hence do not appear on the bill until it is reprinted.
See the status of this bill for the bill's primary sponsor.
Prepared by Montana Legislative Services