published Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Merry Christmas bill nearing passage in AL

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Legislature is getting close to enacting a law to allow public schools to educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations and allow student and staff to exchange seasonal greetings.

The bill by Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa won approval in the Senate last month and cleared the House Education Policy Committee on Wednesday. It now goes to the House for a final vote.

Christmas and Hanukkah are the only celebrations mentioned in Allen's bill. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays are the only greetings mentioned.

Democratic Rep. Marcel Black of Tuscumbia voted against the bill and said teachers and students can already do what the bill says. Allen says there is confusion among school officials, and he's trying to clarify what's permissible.

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