1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Kirby
Senate Bill 2029
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-13-4, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THAT VOLUNTARY BENEDICTIONS, INVOCATIONS OR PRAYERS GIVEN BY STUDENT VOLUNTEERS MAY BE PERMITTED ON PUBLIC PROPERTY DURING NON-COMPULSORY SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES, SPORTING EVENTS AND COMMENCEMENT CEREMONIES; TO REPEAL SECTION 37-13-4.1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH RELATES TO THE AUTHORIZATION OF VOLUNTARY SCHOOL PRAYER; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-13-4, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-13-4. (1) It shall be lawful for any teacher or school administrator in any of the schools of the state which are supported, in whole or in part, by the public funds of the state, to permit the voluntary participation by students or others in prayer. Nothing contained in this section shall authorize any teacher or other school authority to prescribe the form or content of any prayer. * * *
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), non-sectarian and non-proselytizing voluntary benedictions, invocations or prayers, which are initiated and given by a student volunteer or student volunteers may be permitted on public school property during school-related non-compulsory student assemblies, school-related student sporting events and school-related commencement ceremonies. Such permission shall not be construed to indicate any support, approval or sanction by the State of Mississippi or any governmental personnel or official of the contents of any such benedictions, invocations or prayers or to be the promotion or establishment of any religion, religious belief or sect.
SECTION 2. Section 37-13-4.1, Mississippi Code of 1972, which relates to the authorization of voluntary school prayer, is hereby repealed.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.