bible bill

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On Monday, the Tennessee state legislature approved a measure designating the Bible its official state book. The Senate approved the measure with a 19-8 vote after only 30 minutes of debate. Tennessee is only the second state to propose state-approved reading material; Massachusetts designated the beloved children’s book Make Way for Ducklings its official state book in 2003.

The House successfully passed the measure last year, but the Senate halted it, sending it back to committee. “We don't need to put the Bible beside salamanders, tulip poplars and 'Rocky Top' in the Tennessee Blue Book to appreciate its importance to our state,” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said at the time. Lawmakers in Mississippi and Louisiana considered naming the Bible their official state book in the past, but secular opposition thwarted their efforts. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Steve Southerland (R-Morristown), now heads to the desk of Gov. Bill Haslam to sign.

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