American flag

Boy Scout Troop 167 member Kael Sievers carries a bundle of American flags during a flag retirement ceremony at the Casper Elks Lodge in 2016. A bill advanced by the Wyoming House Wednesday would require the United States flag and the national motto, "In God We Trust," to be displayed in all public school classrooms in the state.

Elysia Conner, Star-Tribune

CHEYENNE — The Wyoming House moved forward a bill that would require “In God We Trust” to be displayed in all public school classrooms across the state, as well as in the lobby of state government buildings.

The bill passed its introductory vote overwhelmingly, with just 16 of the 60 lawmakers in the House voting against it, though it was not clear whether all legislators understood what the measure called for.

Rep. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, touted the history of the national motto — “In God We Trust” — and said the bill created a mechanism that allowed the governor’s office to accept donations of motto displays, which would also include the United States flag, but did not note that the state would be required to put the motto on display in certain public buildings.

“This just sets up a process by which the governor can take donations and that these can be placed and where they are to be placed,” said Steinmetz, who sponsored the bill.

But House Bill 133 states that the motto “shall be displayed prominently” in public school classrooms, the state capitol and the lobby of every public building owned or leased by the state. The motto display would include both the American and Wyoming flags.

The bill also states that the motto displays would be funded exclusively by donations. Steinmetz did not respond to a list of questions emailed to her by the Star-Tribune about the measure, including whether she knew of a source for these donations.

House Speaker Steve Harshman, R-Casper, voted in favor of the measure and assigned it to the minerals committee. In order to become law, the measure would have to be approved by the committee and then be approved by the full Legislature.

The Legislature must solve Wyoming’s $850 million budget deficit during their current four-week meeting in Cheyenne.

Arno Rosenfeld covers state politics.

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State Politics Reporter

Arno Rosenfeld covers state politics including the Legislature and Wyoming’s D.C. delegation, focusing especially on the major issues facing the Cowboy State like economic diversification and what it means to be the most conservative state in the nation.

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