Lawmakers passed a bill updating social studies requirements for Nebraska schools March 21.

School boards had been required to appoint three members to a committee on Americanism to approve textbooks used in the teaching of American history and government.

LB399, introduced by Peru Sen. Julie Slama, requires the renamed committee on American civics to hold at least two public meetings annually and ensure that the district’s social studies curriculum is accessible to the public.

The committee also will ensure that the district’s curriculum aligns with state social studies standards and “teaches and assesses foundational knowledge in civics, history, economics, financial literacy and geography.”

The bill requires each school district to incorporate into its curriculum either an exam based on the the 100-question civics portion of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test or a civics-focused project, paper or presentation.

LB399 also eliminated the criminal penalty for violating the Americanism statutes’ provisions.

Senators voted 44-2 to pass the bill.