The House Public Education Committee toned down a bill that would have required Texas public schools to offer classes teaching the Bible as a textbook.
The committee passed a bill yesterday saying Bible classes should be optional.
The original bill by Republican state Representative Warren Chisum would have required schools to offer Bible courses as an elective. Chisum's bill called for history and literature courses on the Old and New Testaments.
About 25 Texas high school already offer Bible courses as electives.
The new version of the bill establishes teacher training qualifications and requirements for curriculum standards. It also requires that the course maintain religious neutrality.
The bill's alteration drew praise from critics who feared mandatory Bible courses would be more religious than academic.
The bill doesn't yet have a sponsor in the Senate. The proposal is House Bill 1287.