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The Colorado State Senate holds a hearing on Monday, Feb 15th on a bill to establish "religious bills of rights" for students, parents, teachers and administrators.

ADL, JCRC Oppose Public School Bills of Religious Rights

Colorado State Senate Committee to Hold Hearing Monday on Bill

On Monday, February 15th, at 1:30 p.m., the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on SB10-089:  Creation of Religious Bills of Rights for Individuals Connected to Public Schools.  Last week, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) in Denver voted (unanimously) to oppose SB10-089.

This bill would require the Colorado State Board of Education to adopt a “religious bill of rights” for public school students and parents and a religious “bill of rights” for public school teachers and employees outlining each party’s respective “inalienable individual religious rights.”  An example of one of the “inalienable rights” included in this bill is that a student would have the “right to express his or her religious beliefs on a public school campus or at a school-sponsored event to the same extent as he or she may express a personal secular viewpoint.”  An example of a teacher’s “inalienable rights” is the right to not be required to teach a topic that violates his or her religious beliefs and not be disciplined for refusing to teach the topic.”

Here is a link to the full text of the bill.

The JCRC is sending a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee stating that the JCRC believes that the First Amendment adequately covers such issues and that this could potentially embroil the State in constitutional litigation that it can ill-afford at this time.  The Anti Defamation League (ADL) is the lead organization at the hearing and will provide testimony in opposition of this bill.  It is widely believed that there is not enough support in the Colorado legislature for this bill to pass.   If the bill gets out of committee, the JCRC will be providing information regarding how to contact your state representatives and senators.

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado serves as the representative voice of the organized Colorado Jewish community in addressing the mandate of the Jewish community relations field. The JCRC consists of representatives from thirty Jewish agencies, organizations and synagogues, as well as at-large members that represent the political, youth, and business components of the 70,000+ members of the greater Denver/Boulder Jewish community.

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