We only posted once before about this year’s creationism bill in Ohio — that was Ohio Creationism: New Bill for 2014. Ohio is one of those unfortunate states where the legislature is in session all year long, which is why this news is popping up so late in the year.
The bill was House Bill 597, which was primarily aimed at killing the Common Core standards. It was sponsored by state representatives Andy Thompson, who runs Bird Watcher’s Digest, and Matt Huffman, a lawyer.
Thompson had said that one of the bill’s clauses would prevent teachers and schools from only presenting one side of a political and scientific debate — global warming, for example — without also presenting the other side. He also said the bill gives districts and teachers the freedom to teach religious interpretations of scientific issues as they deem best, which allows intelligent design and creationism to be taught alongside evolution, as well as varying views on the age of the earth and whether dinosaurs and people existed at the same time.
Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have a new article about this: Antiscience bill dies in Ohio. They report that the bill has died, and they refer to this article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: Bills to rein in testing and the Common Core are dead – could rise again in New Year.
The Plain Dealer article is about two bills, and it’s a bit chaotic because it describes the wild gyrations of the legislature during the final days of this year’s session. Limiting our excerpts mostly to Thompson’s creationism bill, it says, with bold font added by us:
Bills to block the Common Core standards in Ohio and to limit testing of students have both died in the state legislature. The business of both houses is winding down for the year this week, with neither bill able to go up for further debate or vote. But both are likely to return after the New Year — in some form.
If there’s a creationist in the legislature, he is certain to try the same thing, year after year. They never learn and they never quit. Here’s more:
“Repeal will be high on the agenda next year,” said State Rep. Andy Thompson, a Marietta Republican and sponsor of House Bill 597, which would have killed the Common Core for the state. “Count on it.”
We believe it. Skipping the stuff about the testing bill, we come to the creationism news:
This bill — one that had an unusual path toward having committee hearings this fall — brought even more political maneuvering in the House last week. The end result? The bill did not gather enough votes to pass and two attempts to attach it to other bills to force a full House vote failed. One of those efforts was thwarted by House members passing a “blocking amendment” to cut it off.
Those maneuvers are then described in detail, but we’ll ignore that. Well, here’s one interesting item:
As reported previously, HB 597 did not go through the House Education Committee because committee Chairman Gerald Stebelton supports the Common Core. Thompson’s bill to block the Common Core last year, HB 528, died in Stebelton’s committee without even a committee vote after one (very long) hearing.
Aha — Stebelton blocked Thompson’s creationist bill last year. But this year Thompson slimed around that problem by picking a more friendly committee. The news continues:
So Thompson’s new bill, 597, went through the House Rules and Reference Committee, which held hearings and passed it for House consideration. Early last week, Thompson and supporters pushed for a vote on the bill and to attach it to other bills, but House leadership wouldn’t allow it.
So in spite of the slime, Thompson’s new bill failed anyway. Well, there’s always next year. And get this:
Stebelton, who is leaving office because of term limits, said the bill did not have broad support. And he said House leaders did not want the bill attached to other legislation, which would endanger the other law.
Maybe Thompson can try the House Education Committee next year. There are several more paragraphs about all the slipping and sliding and sleazing that went on, but in the end, Thompson’s bill died. Here’s one more excerpt:
Asked for comment or clarification on what happened, Thompson declined to comment.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Why would anyone ask a creationist what happened in the past? Oh wait — in this case, Thompson was there. But he still doesn’t have a clue.
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