Ariz. House backs new right to religion in school

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PHOENIX -- Arizona public school students would have new rights to express religious viewpoints under a bill advancing in the Legislature.

The "Students Religious Liberties Act" would prohibit schools from discriminating against students or parents on the basis of religious viewpoint or expressions.

Under the bill, prayer and other religious activities would be permitted "to the same extent that students may engage in nonreligious activities or expression."

The bill also requires that an administrative process be used to consider alleged violations prior to a lawsuit being filed.

The bill (HB2357) went to the Senate on a 37-23 House vote Wednesday, but its fate in the Senate is questionable because that chamber is not yet considering most non-budget bills.

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