Measure Placing National Motto on Public Buildings passes Oklahoma House of Representatives

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would require the national motto of “In God We Trust” to be displayed on all state government buildings passed the House on Monday (March 1).

House Bill 2085, authored by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, and Speaker Pro Tempore Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa, would require the display of the motto to be prominent and in keeping with the one in the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center.

In debating for the measure on the state House floor, O’Donnell pointed out that the United States Congress has reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as the national motto several times in recent years since the motto was first adopted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. The last affirmation came in 2011 with a vote of 396-9.

“Clearly, this national motto unified our national leaders,” O’Donnell said. “When we really look at it, it unifies us as Americans and as Oklahomans. Isn’t that what both political parties claim must happen right now – that we must come together in unity? This motto is woven into the fabric of our society, and reminds us of who we are as Americans.”

McCall and O’Donnell pointed out that the motto is already on the nation’s currency and on many government buildings throughout the nation, as well as on license plates and in many other places.

“‘In God We Trust’ has been our national motto for more than 70 years,” McCall said. 

“Long before that, our founding fathers used the Declaration of Independence to give credence to the belief that Americans are ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.’ This important piece of our history deserves to be celebrated here as it is in thousands of government buildings nationwide.”

H.B. 2085 is a revision of a measure that passed last year in the House by a wide majority but did not make it through the legislative process because of pandemic interruptions. The legislation on Monday passed with a vote of 81-19.

A press release from the state House majority, sent to CapitolBeatOK and other news organizations, pointed out, “The measure received no Democrat votes. Just more than a decade ago, a Democrat-authored bill that created Oklahoma’s ‘In God We Trust’ specialty license plate received bipartisan support in both legislative chambers.” 

Senate Bill 2 in 2009, by former Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, and former Rep. Scott Martin, R-Norman, created the ‘In God We Trust’ license plate.

“As it did more than a decade ago, I was proud the Oklahoma House majority stood again in favor of widely-accepted American history and Oklahoma values,” McCall said.

The bill now moves to the state Senate where Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, is the principle author.