The Iowa House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill that would require K-12 schools to administer the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that the measure, House File 415, passed 91-3. The bill’s sponsor, GOP state Rep. Carter Nordman, shot down arguments that it would impose more mandates on schools.
According to the Courier, Nordman said the new requirement would be “an opportunity for teachers to begin teaching the real meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance.” The lawmaker added that Iowa is one of the only states without legislation that addresses the pledge.
“We don’t pledge our allegiance to a government. We don’t pledge our allegiance to a person or leader,” Nordman added. “We pledge our loyalty to an idea, the American idea.”
As the Courier notes, the Supreme Court ruled that forcing students to recite the pledge is a violation of their First Amendment rights, meaning students and parents can opt out of reciting it.
The bill received some bipartisan support with newly-elected Democratic Rep. Christina Bohannan saying she still loved reciting the Pledge.
“No matter how many thousands of times I’ve recited it, it always makes me feel reverent and proud to be an American,” Bohannan said, according to the Courier.
Bohannan, a University of Iowa law professor, added the bill might help students ask critical question relating to the pledge.
“They might ask how can we be one nation indivisible if those in power pass election laws to suppress the votes of their fellow Americans," she said. "They might ask whether we have liberty and justice for all if transgender people are denied their liberties and Black Iowans are more than 10 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites.”