AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Christmas may be six-plus months away, but it's already on the minds of Gov. Rick Perry and many in the state Legislature.
The governor Thursday signed into law a bipartisan bill removing any legal risks of saying "Merry Christmas" in Texas public schools. He said "religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion."
Traditional holiday symbols, such as a menorah or nativity scene, also are protected, so long as more than one religion and a secular symbol are also reflected.
The measure's sponsor, Houston Republican Rep. Dwayne Bohac, says it will provide schools cover from "ridiculous" lawsuits sparked by too much political correctness.
Bohac's bill sailed through both chambers to Perry's desk.
About 10 Santa Claus impersonators were invited to the ceremony and rang sleigh bells as he signed it.