Constitutional amendment; expands freedom of speech provisions (first reference). (SJ261)

Introduced By

Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate


Constitutional amendment (first resolution); freedom of speech. Expands the freedom of speech provisions of the Constitution of Virginia to permit prayer and the recognition of religious beliefs, heritage, and traditions on public property, including public school property. The amendment also provides that the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions, including public school divisions, shall not compose prayers and shall not require any person to join in prayers or other religious activity. Read the Bill »


01/29/2013: Merged into SB1305


12/03/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13
12/03/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13100404D
12/03/2012Referred to Committee on Privileges and Elections
01/15/2013Assigned to P&E sub: Constitutional Amendments, Reapportionment and Referenda
01/29/2013Incorporated by Privileges and Elections (SJ287-Stanley) (14-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)


Carolyn Caywood writes:

It is not necessary to improve on Jefferson. He knew what he was doing.

ACLU-VA Religious Liberty, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia opposes this resolution because it unnecessarily amends the Virginia Constitution, reiterating the free exercise of religion provisions that already exist. Individuals already have a right under the federal and state constitutions to pray and recognize their religious beliefs on public property, including schools. Ultimately, this legislation only creates confusion because it’s not clear whether it’s simply echoing the First Amendment and court precedent, and is therefore unnecessary, or allows state endorsement of religion, which is therefore unconstitutional.