Update: Carryover bill SB 450 was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee on February 5. Carryover bills in the House start the next session where they left off on the previous year. It was not assigned to a House committee last year. SB 450 did pass the Senate last year. SB 450 by Allen, creating the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act. Although the bill does not specifically address science education, it could possibly be used to allow non-scientific answers to science questions The bill is unnecessary to protect student expression of religious viewpoints, because most of the provisions of the bill already exist in current law. It sets forth rights already guaranteed by the U.S. and Oklahoma Constitutions and federal and Oklahoma state law, as well as recommendations made in federal guidelines. A similar bill passed in Texas several years ago, but has not been acted upon by any Texas school district. See this analysis of a previously introduced bill for additional talking points. The bill was not heard by the April 12 deadline. Thanks to all who contacted the legislators.
Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, Inc. is a non-profit educational organization that seeks to inform the public about the methods and values of science and advocates excellence in the science curriculum. Activities include workshops for science teachers and the operation of a speakers’ bureau. OESE organizes opposition against anti-science legislation but does not endorse or censure particular political parties or candidates. Since 1999, OESE has been successful in helping to prevent the implementation of all anti-science bills that have been proposed in the Oklahoma legislature.