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July 3, 2002

Governor Ryan Signs Pledge of Allegiance Bill
Expands State Provision for High School Students to Recite Pledge

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed Senate Bill 1634, which amends the state school code so that students in secondary schools recite the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis. Current state law states that students in elementary schools supported in all or some part by the state recite the Pledge of Allegiance on school days.

“As leaders of this state it is our duty to instill a sense of patriotism in our youth,” Governor Ryan said. “I feel that for those students willing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance everyday, this measure will help shape their civic pride as they grow to become the future leaders of Illinois.”

Senate Bill 1634 and current Illinois law do not mandate that all pupils recite the Pledge of Allegiance and do not contain any penalty for not reciting it. They merely call upon students in elementary and secondary institutions that receive some sort of state funding to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on school days.

Illinois’ current law has withstood a challenge in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal from the 7th Circuit’s holding.

A recent decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled that including the phrase, “under God”, in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state provision. This decision in the 9th Circuit does not affect Illinois’ law because the 7th Circuit specifically addressed the same issue in upholding the law of our state.

Senate Bill 1634 passed both houses in the Illinois General Assembly unanimously and becomes effective immediately.


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