‘Declaration of Independence’ Bill Passes Louisiana House
Following the drama - and controversy in the national media - from last week, Thursday afternoon the state House of Representatives once again considered HB 1035, and this time voted 70 to 23 to require students in grades four through six to learn and recite the most famous passage of the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
The bill, originally introduced by Rep. Valerie Hodges of Denham Springs, came under fierce questioning by Shreveport Rep. Barbara Norton, who argued that because some of the Founding Fathers were slave holders, it was unfair to force black students to learn about the document.
Before the vote, Rep. Ed Price of Gonzales, tried to get an amendment attached to the bill requiring that students also learn a portion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a Dream" in addition to that section of the Declaration of Independence. The House voted down Price's amendment 51 to 45.
The bill will now move on to the Louisiana Senate, but because the legislative session ends on Monday, June 6, it is not clear whether that body will consider the bill before the session's end.