A bill that requires every Michigan public school student to start the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance has been approved by the state Senate.
The Republican led Senate passed the bill Thursday 31-5 that carries two provisions: requiring students to recite the pledge and mandating that every public school purchase a flag for each of its classrooms. The school board would also be required to ensure that those flags are displayed.
The bill does note, however, that a student "shall not be compelled" to participate against objections by the student or the student's parents.
Michigan is one of seven states in the country that doesn't have a law requiring the pledge's recitation every day, according to The Grand Rapids Press.
The was introduced by Republican Sen. Roger Kahn, who says that starting the school day with the pledge is an important expression of love for the country.
"Saying the pledge is a reminder of the sacrifices made by so many Americans over the generations," Kahn told The Grand Rapids Press.
Kahn has also introduced a separate measure that would require all U.S. flags and Michigan state flags flown over public buildings to be made in the U.S.
"It's common sense that U.S. flags should be made in America," Kahn said in a statement Thursday. "I firmly believe our nation's symbols should be American-made, and that is why I sponsored this measure."
State Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood was one of the five lawmakers who voted against the bill that requires the pledge, telling Michigan Radio that he doesn't believe patriotism comes from a mandate.
"One of the things I said is that I love my country, not because I say the pledge, but because I say the pledge because I love my country," Hopgood told Michigan Radio.
The bill now advances to the state House.
Nebraska state Sen. Tony Fulton has also expressed intent to introduce a bill in the Nebraska Legislature in January nearly identical to Kahn's bill in Michigan.
Schools in Nebraska are currently required to display flags, and while the pledge is common practice, it's not required. Fulton's bill would make both required by state law, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.
In a separate move, the Brookline Political Action for Peace in Massachusetts has called for a ban on students reciting the pledge in public schools, saying it has no educational value and is reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.
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