The “Merry Christmas bill,” aimed at giving public schools more leeway to celebrate traditional winter celebrations, is headed to the desk of Gov. Rick Perry.

The state Senate on Friday unanimously passed House Bill 308, which would allow teachers and other public school staff to use holiday greetings like "Merry Christmas” and "Happy Hanukkah" and to display Christmas trees, Nativity scenes, menorahs and other cultural icons of winter celebrations.

While allowing such overtly religious holiday displays, the bill also prohibits schools from using language that promotes adherence to a specific religion.

The bill was authored in the House by Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, and carried in the Senate by Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville. Nichols said that under current law, teachers are afraid they’ll get sued for saying "Merry Christmas" at school.

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“Merry Christmas to you all,” he said after the bill was approved.

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