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On January 18, 2011 HJR 10, a bill which would put the defunding of public education on the ballot for a vote in Missouri, was introduced in the House. Vouchers!

If approved by the voters this would gut the establishment clause in the Missouri Constitution which is in, count ’em, two places:

Missouri Constitution

Article I

BILL OF RIGHTS

Section 7

Public aid for religious purposes–preferences and discriminations on religious grounds.

Section 7. That no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion, or in aid of any priest, preacher, minister or teacher thereof, as such; and that no preference shall be given to nor any discrimination made against any church, sect or creed of religion, or any form of religious faith or worship.

[emphasis added]

Article IX

EDUCATION

Section 8

Prohibition of public aid for religious purposes and institutions.

Section 8. Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other municipal corporation, shall ever make an appropriation or pay from any public fund whatever, anything in aid of any religious creed, church or sectarian purpose, or to help to support or sustain any private or public school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other institution of learning controlled by any religious creed, church or sectarian denomination whatever; nor shall any grant or donation of personal property or real estate ever be made by the state, or any county, city, town, or other municipal corporation, for any religious creed, church, or sectarian purpose whatever.

[emphasis added]

The bill:

FIRST REGULAR SESSION

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 10

96TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES BARNES (Sponsor), DIECKHAUS AND JONES (89) (Co-sponsors).

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JOINT RESOLUTION

Submitting to the qualified voters of Missouri an amendment repealing section 8 of article IX of the Constitution of Missouri, and adopting one new section in lieu thereof relating to educational freedom.

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring therein:

           That at the next general election to be held in the state of Missouri, on Tuesday next following the first Monday in November, 2012, or at a special election to be called by the governor for that purpose, there is hereby submitted to the qualified voters of this state, for adoption or rejection, the following amendment to article IX of the Constitution of the state of Missouri:

           Section A. Section 8, article IX, Constitution of Missouri, is repealed and one new section adopted in lieu thereof, to be known as section 8, to read as follows:

           Section 8. [Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other municipal corporation, shall ever make an appropriation or pay from any public fund whatever, anything in aid of any religious creed, church or sectarian purpose, or to help to support or sustain any private or public school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other institution of learning controlled by any religious creed, church or sectarian denomination whatever; nor shall any] The parents or guardians of children in this state shall have the freedom to choose any school for their minor children to attend and, should they choose a school outside that assigned to them by geographical location, then shall be provided with a stipend to pay for education at any accredited school of elementary or secondary education in an amount equal to the amount that would otherwise be paid by local and state government for the child to attend the public school in his or her school district. Notwithstanding this provision, no grant or donation of [personal property or] real estate shall ever be made by the state, or any county, city, town, or other municipal corporation, for any religious creed, church, or sectarian purpose whatever.

           Section B. Pursuant to chapter 116, RSMo, and other applicable constitutional provisions and laws of this state allowing the General Assembly to adopt ballot language for the submission of a joint resolution to the voters of this state, the official ballot title of the amendment proposed in section A shall be as follows:

           “Shall the Constitution of the State of Missouri be amended to delete the ban on providing state funding to educational facilities controlled by religious organizations and replace it with a provision ensuring the freedom of parents or guardians of minor children to choose any accredited school of elementary or secondary education with the use of public funds?”.

[emphasis in original]

Notice what gets cut out [in brackets]?

Do you suppose that Representatives Barnes, Dieckhaus, and Jones (r) aren’t originalists when it comes to the Constitution? Just asking.