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Democratic lawmaker introduces trigger bill that would reinstate prayer in Mississippi schools

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As conflict over religion’s influence on public schools continues, one lawmaker in Mississippi has introduced legislation that could eventually reinstate prayers within the state’s schools.

Rep. Oscar Denton, D-Vicksburg, recently proposed a trigger bill that would allow student-led prayer over the intercom if the U.S. Supreme Court were to ever overturn its 1963 decision ruling school-sponsored prayers to be unconstitutional.

If passed and triggered, the bill would require local school boards to designate a period of time at the beginning of each day for “non-sectarian, non-proselytizing student-initiated prayer.” According to the bill text, the daily prayers would be optional. However, no recommendation on how students could opt out was provided.

A similar trigger bill that would have forced public schools to begin each day with “The Lord’s Prayer” was introduced three years ago by Rep. Jill Ford, R-Madison, but eventually died in committee.

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