"It's a one-word change to our legislation," says 58th District State Rep. Al Cutrona, sponsor of House Bill 445.

It would force Ohio public schools to adopt policies that allow students to attend religious programs or services during school hours. That one-word change would amend current statute to say "shall allow" instead of "may allow".

"I think fundamentally, this bill is the quintessential example of parental rights," Cutrona said, insisting that it does not challenge the separation of church and state.

"There are zero dollars from taxpayers that are paying this," said Cutrona. When we pointed out that taxpayers pay for public schools, he replied "...this is not going to be in the schools, this has to be off-site."

Which is one of the conditions that, under The Constitution, must be met. The religious programming can't be on school grounds and can't be funded by the district. There must be parental consent and there must be no requirement for students to participate.

"I don't see that it really makes that much of a difference," said 21 News legal expert Matt Mangino.

He pointed to decades of legal precedent established by the US Supreme Court that already allow for this sort of policy. In fact, for years religious functions were allowed on public school grounds until 1952, when the Court refined its ruling.

"Whether a school has a policy or doesn't have a policy, that student still has a right to participate in religious services and can't be prohibited under that framework," Mangino said.

Cutrona expects the bill to sail easily through the General Assembly.