State Religion Aid

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- An appeal court wants the Florida Supreme Court to decide if state contracts with faith-based organizations violate the state constitution.

The full 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday certified that as a question of great public importance.

The high court dodged the issue in 2006 when it declared a school voucher program was unconstitutional on other grounds.

The sharply divided appeal court also refused to rehear an
earlier ruling that the constitution's "no-aid" provision prohibits spending taxpayer money on programs that use religious doctrine to carry out work for the state.

That decision reinstated a challenge to contracts with faith-based organizations to provide substance abuse programs for prisoner.

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