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House approves "Ten Commandments" bill, with changes

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The House has passed a measure that would allow a school to display the Ten Commandments.

SB 2308 was amended to say the Ten Commandments would be displayed as part of a display of historical documents. Supporters say that amendment would help the bill pass Constitutional muster.

Rep. Terry Jones (R-New Town) said the United States was founded on the principles outlined in the Ten Commandments.

"We need to get back to what we were founded on," Jones said. "We are the greatest nation the world's ever seen. And it's due to the fact we were founded on correct principles.  And if we go back to that foundation, there'll be a lot more happiness and civility in our nation."

But Rep. Karla Rose Hanson (D-Fargo) said the measure would still be unconstitutional, because the sponsor’s intent is religious, not historical.

"The bill's sponsor testified that displaying the Ten Commandments will help address a litany of problems in our society, from divorce to teenage pregnancy to murder," Hanson said. "Her testimony indicated that this one specific item -- the Ten Commandments -- will prevent sins, not provide students with a history lesson."

The bill passed 76 to 16. It goes back to the Senate, to see if it agrees with the amendment.

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