AUSTIN – On the first day to file bills for the 85th Legislature, Senator Campbell introduced the Founding Principles Act (SB 174) and Uniform Election Day Act (SB 173), two important initiatives she hopes to pass this upcoming session.
The Founding Principles Act requires high school students to successfully complete a semester course on the founding principles of the United States. Topics of study would include the underlying principles of the U.S. form of government, with an emphasis on the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and other writings of America’s founders.
“The Founding Principles Act would ensure that future generations of Texans have full knowledge and understanding of the ideals that have allowed America to be exceptional and for liberty to flourish,” Senator Campbell said. “America is the greatest nation on earth because of the extraordinary principles our nation was founded on. Keeping America free and strong requires a commitment to teaching these principles.”
A national survey in 2012 from Xavier University found that one in three native-born Americans would fail the civics portion of the naturalization test for immigrants. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, 35 percent of surveyed Americans were unable to name even one branch of the federal government and only 36 percent could identify all three.
“A fundamental understanding of the founding principles of our nation’s government, including knowledge of the separation of powers and how laws are made, is essential to the ability of citizens to fully participate in our democracy,” Senator Campbell noted as the intent behind the bill.
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Additionally, the Uniform Election Day Act would look to increase participation in the democratic process by requiring elections across Texas to be held in November, on one uniform date, thus eliminating May elections held by some municipalities and school districts.
“A Uniform Election Day encourages higher participation in the democratic process on local issues, preventing low voter turnout during May elections. It also better serves our military members serving overseas who are often unaware that May elections are occurring in their hometowns and unable to vote,” Senator Campbell said.
Senator Donna Campbell represents Senate District 25 and chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs and Military Installations Committee. She is an emergency room physician.