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Okla. House panel passes 'Merry Christmas Bill'

ASSOCIATED PRESS Modified: February 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm •  Published: February 10, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It was Christmas in February for an Oklahoma House committee.

The House Common Education Committee Monday approved legislation authorizing public school students and school employees to greet each other with phrases used during traditional winter celebrations such as merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and happy holidays.

The so-called Merry Christmas Bill authorizes Oklahoma school districts to teach students about the history of the traditional celebrations. It also allows a school district to erect displays on school property associated with the winter celebrations, including a menorah or a Christmas image like a nativity scene or Christmas tree, under certain circumstances.

The measure's author, Republican Rep. Ken Walker, of Tulsa, says the measure will protect Oklahoma school districts from lawsuits over winter displays.