Texas Creationism Update (15 Apr ‘09)

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THIS supplements what we wrote here, in which we reported about four bills pending in the Texas legislature regarding creationism and the fate of the Texas Board of Education — the BOE.

That was followed by this post, about a Wall Street Journal article which mentioned additional bills of interest. Unfortunately, the Journal article didn’t mention the numbers of those bills or their sponsors, so we couldn’t identify them. We still can’t, but we’ve learned of yet another.

The Dallas Morning News has an article entitled: Sen. Seliger: No sex in my bill. It’s a very brief article, which we’ll copy in its entirety, with bold added by us:

Sen. Kel Seliger made it clear Tuesday that his bill stripping textbook review powers from the State Board of Education avoids the controversy that has surrounded the board — including old, unfounded accusations that some Democrats were pushing for sex education in elementary schools. Seliger’s assertion came after another sponsor of the bill, Sen. Kip Averitt of Waco, said during a meeting of a senate committee he was tired of the partisan bickering and infighting on the board.

“All I hear is that Republicans want to push their religious views into the curriculum and Democrats want to teach our children how to masturbate,” Averitt said, referring to recurring criticism of the two factions by special interest groups. Not missing a chance to promote his legislation, Seliger quickly remarked, “There’s none of that in this bill” — prompting laughter from other senators and the audience.

Your Curmudgeon isn’t interested in legislation about sex education, but we were delighted to learn that Senator Kel Seliger was the sponsor of another bill affecting the Texas Board of Education. Unlike the sponsors of some anti-BOE legislation, Seliger is a Republican. That’s a welcome touch of bi-partisan reaction against the creationism of the Republican-dominated BOE.

With the information provided by the Dallas Morning News — Seliger’s name — we located SB 2275, “Relating to the adoption of the public school curriculum and textbooks; transferring authority from the State Board of Education to the commissioner of education.” The text of the bill is here.

Seliger’s bill was filed on 13 March and referred to the Education Committee. A hearing was s scheduled for 14 April, but we don’t have any news about that. There is no companion bill in the House.

Update: Here’s a story on the 14 April hearing: Texas lawmakers debate stripping education board of authority over curriculum, textbooks. The committee didn’t vote on the bill.

This doesn’t seem like it’s one of the bills mentioned by the Journal, so those are still unknown to us. But there seems to be a lot of unrest in the Texas legislature. This tale is far from over.

This session of the Texas legislative session adjourns 01 June.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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One response to “Texas Creationism Update (15 Apr ‘09)

  1. I’m working for a candidate challenging Cynthia Dunbar for the SBOE in 2010, Judy Jennings: http://www.actblue.com/page/judyjennings

    For more background on the far-far-right SBOE faction, check out this NYT article from 1998: http://bit.ly/lT92T. (The Karl Rove quotes are delicious.) There’s been talk (from both Dems and Repubs) of stripping the SBOE of its powers for some time now, but I’m not holding my breath.