Action alert (updated March 23): This year we are asking that you cc: firstname.lastname@example.org on any emails you send so we can keep track.
SB 393 passed the Senate by a vote of 34-10 on March 22. SB 393 passed the Senate Education Committee on Monday, February 27. The vote was 13-1. SB 393 by Josh Brecheen, the Oklahoma Science Education Act. The bill says public school officials shall “endeavor to assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies. Teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” This is standard creationist language to allow anti-science information into the classroom. The bill is nearly identical to SB 1322 introduced last year which was never heard in the Senate Education Committee. More info at NCSE and the Sensuous Curmudgeon. The bill is very similar to a bill defeated in the South Dakota Senate. Opponents of that bill are calling it the “Alternative Facts Bill”. Letters in opposition to the bill have been sent by AIBS, NSTA, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, NABT, and the National Coalition Against Censorship. You may want to use that terminology for SB 393 as well. See this analysis of the bill for additional talking points. The bill will now be sent to the House. Please contact the House leadership, Speaker Charles McCall, 557-7412, email@example.com, and Speaker Pro Tem Harold Wright, 557-7325, firstname.lastname@example.org, urging them to not assign the bill to committee.
SB 450 passed the Senate by a vote of 41-3 on March 22 with only Senators Floyd, Pittman, and Sparks voting against. the bill. SB 450 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 21. 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 will now be sent to the House. Please contact the House leadership, Speaker Charles McCall, 557-7412, email@example.com, and Speaker Pro Tem Harold Wright, 557-7325, firstname.lastname@example.org, urging them to not assign the bill to committee.
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.