The Oregon House Representatives this morning said okay to a bill that requires all schools in the state to allow time—every day—for the Pledge of Allegiance.
HB 3014 requires all Oregon classrooms, including public charter schools “to provide time for students to salute flag once daily during school hours.” School districts would also have to pay to procure flags—“of suitable size”—for every classroom.
The bill’s chief sponsor Representative Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, says the pledge is currently recited once a week, which he's decided isn't enough.
Groups like the ACLU of Oregon are opposed to the measure. In written testimony, legislative director Becky Straus says “in our view, the bill only serves to heighten existing concerns about the religious freedom implications of the current law.”
But most House reps don’t seem to share that sentiment. The bill’s vote in the House began with lawmakers sharing stories of veterans, and the proposition that reciting the pledge every day allows time to reflect on patriotism. The bill cleared the House 42-16.
Now the measure heads to the Senate where it can expect a vote in the next few weeks. If approved, students would still be able to opt-out, in accordance with a 1943 Supreme Court case. It's unclear what would happen if schools or districts tried to opt out, too.