Florida’s Creationism (or “critical analysis”) Bill

FLORIDA’S CREATIONISM LEGISLATION, as we’ve reported earlier, is currently slithering through both houses of that state’s legislature. Prior to the bill’s approval by one committee of the Florida House yesterday, the text was amended.

The amendment was proposed by House member D. Alan Hays (R), a retired dentist. He was also the sponsor of the original version of the bill in the House, which was similar to the bill introduced in the Florida Senate by Florida State Senator Ronda Storms (R). The original version introduced into both houses was inspired by the so-called Academic Freedom Act, sponsored by the Discovery Institute — promoters of Intelligent Design creationism.

However, the text of the amended bill hasn’t been been made available. It will eventually be found here: HB 1483 – Teaching Chemical and Biological Evolution. Until then, those concerned about such matters are being left to wonder what the new Hays bill says.

Your Curmudgeon, being impatient by nature, has been digging. It seems that when the House committee met to approve the legislation, they had a massive, 122-page Meeting Packet (PDF file), with background information about several bills, including HB 1483: “Teaching Chemical and Biological Evolution,” the “Creationism is OK” bill which had been introduced by Hays.

Buried within that document, at page 35, is the text of the Hays amendment. This may or may not be what the House committee approved, but as a service to those eager for information, here’s that text (emphasis supplied):

Remove everything after the enacting clause and insert:

Section 1. Paragraph (u) is added to subsection (2) of section 1003.42, Florida Statutes, to read:

1003.42 Required instruction.–

(2) Members of the instructional staff of the public schools, subject to the rules of the State Board of Education and the district school board, shall teach efficiently and faithfully, using the books and materials required that meet the highest standards for professionalism and historic accuracy, following the prescribed courses of study, and employing approved methods of instruction, the following:

(u) A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution.

The State Board of Education is encouraged to adopt standards and pursue assessment of the requirements of this subsection.

Section 2. This act shall take effect October 1, 2008.

So there you are. Two little words. The Florida House and Senate are now working on two different bills, neither of them desirable. Stay tuned.

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