Anti-science legislation in 2016 Oklahoma Legislature

Anti-science legislation in 2016 Oklahoma Legislature

Anti-science legislation in 2016 Oklahoma Legislature
Update: The 2nd Regular Session of the 55th Legislature adjourned Sine Die at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 27, 2016. No anit-science legislation was passed.
The two anti-science bills introduced for the 2016 Oklahoma legislative session are dead. Neither SB 1322 nor HB 3045 were passed out of their respective committees before the February 26 deadline and are marked as dormant on the Legislature web site. Thanks to all who sent messages to the committees. Numbers DO count.
SB 1322 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 identical to SB 665 introduced last year which was never heard in the Senate Education Committee. More info at NCSE.
HB 3045 by Sally Kern, the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act. If enacted, the bill would require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies” and permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught,” prohibiting administrators from interfering. As introduced, the bill specifically mentions “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning” as subjects which “some teachers may be unsure” about how to teach. The bill is virtually identical to other recent bills supported by Kern. More info at NCSE. The bill was assigned to the House Rules Committee.
The bills have gathered quite a bit of national attention from Ars Technica, BoingBoing, and Slate. The national attention has even prompted a response from the Discovery Institute. Local bloggers, The Lost Ogle and Okie Funk have also commented.

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