Louisiana’s HB 580: The Flat-Earth Option, #4

We have some surprisingly good news from Louisiana — the most creationist state in the US. Well, the news is good today, but things may yet go the other way. The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on 23 June, so there’s still a day remaining, and a lot of damage can occur until the lawmakers return to the swamps and wilderness whence they came, to resume their full-time careers of huntin’ ‘gaters.

Our last post on this topic was HB 580: The Flat-Earth Option, #3. It’s about a bill (which already passed the state House) that would allow local public schools to decide on their own to use state money for purchasing any textbooks they want — without state supervision. You know what that means, don’t you? Everyone does, but the bill’s supporters are lying about it, as creationist politicians always do.

We’ve been receiving bulletins from our clandestine operatives, “Bayou Boy” and “Gumbo Girl.” Here’s what we can disclose so far, because the news is reported in the Advocate, the major newspaper in Louisiana’s capitol city of Baton Rouge. For all excerpts, the bold font was added by us:

The first story is Bill fails on procedural vote. We are told:

A bill criticized as a way to let religion into public school science classrooms suffered a major blow Tuesday. The measure, House Bill 580, failed on a procedural vote in the state Senate that backers needed to pave the way for final legislative debate. The vote was 19-10, seven shy of the two-thirds majority needed to debate the measure.

The 2011 regular legislative session has to end by 6 p.m. on Thursday, which means that a bill that had been breezing through the legislative process suddenly faces major hurdles.

Not bad, huh? But it isn’t over. The story quotes Frank Hoffmann, big-time creationist and chief sponsor of the bill in the House, who said:

“There were nine people absent,” he said. “I think it is possible it could get the two- thirds vote.”

What’s that two-thirds stuff all about? The news article says:

The bill won House approval 87-5 on June 8 and cleared the Senate Education Committee last week without objection. However, it now has to muster two-thirds of each chamber – 26 out of 39 in the Senate and 70 out of 105 in the House – to be debated. That two-thirds vote requirement applies to bills that have not been voted on in both chambers by the established deadline.

The next story, also in the Advocate, is Senate sidetracks debate on textbooks legislation. It says:

A bill criticized as a way to let religion into public school science classrooms suffered a major blow Tuesday. … The 2011 regular legislative session has to end by 6 p.m. on Thursday, which means that a bill that had been breezing through the legislative process suddenly faces major hurdles.

Hurdles for creationism? In Louisiana? How satanic! Let’s read on:

Backers declined to call the legislation dead. “We may have another shot,” said state Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe and Senate sponsor of the legislation.

So there you are, dear reader. The Flat-Earth Option is still a possibility for this session, but the creationists in the legislature are running out of time. They have to act fast.

Here’s yet another story on the situation. It mentions the activities of Zack Kopplin and others in blocking the bill: ‘Stealth creationism bill’ may be dead for this Legislative session.

The forces of light and the forces of darkness are battling it out. But which is which depends on one’s point of view — and sanity.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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2 responses to “Louisiana’s HB 580: The Flat-Earth Option, #4

  1. The yahoos are regrouping at the gates. Good luck to Zack, and all the science teachers and legislators with integrity in Louisiana.

    Why do I always feel like I’m in a time warp when I read these stories? This “controversy” is so cut-and-dried by now that it’s hard for me to believe ANY 21st century adult human is still debating it. It’s 2011, for @#$%&* sake! Can’t we get past this already?? I come from New York City – which has its own problems, so I’m not bragging – but a solid voting block of backward, science-hatin’ yokels isn’t one of them.

  2. The scary thing is that there are a lot of people with a lot of education who still believe a “controversy” exists. Many of them are actually well-meaning and are not the Ken Ham’s out bilking people out of their money. My father-in-law writes creationist literature for his church, which is actually one of the mainstream denominations. Most of what he’s written is just a rehashing of the tired old arguments that we all know how to refute.

    The thing is, he doesn’t hate science, he’s not a backward yokel, and he isn’t doing it for money (as he doesn’t earn a penny from the talks he gives or the articles he writes). He genuinely believes that God did it all and that conventional science is wrong. His faith has blinded him to the truth on this one, where in all other areas of science he embraces it. I have yet to figure out how the dichotomy can exist in a person, but apparently he is quite at peace with himself.