We haven’t written about creationist legislative activity in Florida since 2012, and that state hasn’t really been fun since the earliest days of this blog, when rapturous Ronda Storms was running amok in the Florida Senate. But things seems to be heating up again. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have just posted this at their website: Antiscience bills in Florida. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Two bills introduced in the Florida legislature — House Bill 899 and Senate Bill 1018 — are ostensibly aimed at empowering taxpayers to object to the use of specific instructional materials in the public schools, for example on the grounds that they fail to provide “a noninflammatory, objective, and balanced viewpoint on issues.” There is reason to believe that evolution and climate change are among the targets.
NCSE says the two bills are identical, so this is the one in the state Senate: SB 1018. It proposes extensive revisions to existing Florida law. Here’s a link where you can track the bill’s progress. It’s sitting in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. And here’s where you can track House Bill 0899. Okay, back to NCSE:
According to the Naples Daily News (December 22, 2015), “The identical bills are the work of the Florida Citizens’ Alliance and Better Collier County Public Schools.” … Florida Citizens’ Alliance’s website complains of a world history textbook that in it “Darwin’s conclusions [are] presented as fact and the biblical theory as ludicrous … [it] states as fact millions of species exist and fossil records document changes over time. … while the biblical explanation claims all species created by God on the same day,” and of an American history textbook that it is “permeate[d]” by “discussion of climate change.”
Jeepers — could they be creationists? Let’s read on:
Currently, Florida parents unhappy with instructional materials are entitled to complain to their local school board, whose decision is final. HB 899 and SB 1018, if enacted, would allow any taxpayer to complain to the local school board, and moreover allow them to appeal a negative result to a circuit court to seek damages and/or injunctive relief; the prevailing party in such a case would be entitled to reasonable attorney fees and costs.
Your Curmudgeon is delighted! If this thing becomes law, creationists will be filing lawsuits all over the place, and we’ll have endless material for our humble blog. NCSE continues:
Florida Citizens’ Alliance’s website recently posted a list of “Examples of Acceptable/Proven K-12 Standards and Corresponding Curriculum,” which includes a link to something called Freedom Project Education Classical Judeo-Christian Online Academy, whose high school biology classes refer to “the Creator God” and use a creationist textbook (Exploring Creation with Biology, second edition).
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Who are the legislators responsible for these bills? NCSE tells us:
The sponsor of SB 1018 is Alan Hays (R-District 11), who, while serving in the Florida House of Representatives, introduced HB 1483 in 2008. As introduced, the bill was a version of the so-called academic freedom act; Hays later substituted a one-line version calling on public schools to provide “[a] thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution.” HB 1483 was eventually tabled.
We remember Hays. He’s a retired dentist. Back in 2008 when he was a member of the House he sponsored a companion bill to go along with the Senate’s creationism bill sponsored by rapturous Ronda Storms. See Florida’s Creationism (or “critical analysis”) Bill.
As for the identical bill in the House, it was sponsored by Ray Pilon, a retired law enforcement officer. This is great — we’ve got a creationist dentist and a creationist cop. Verily, a dynamic duo!
The new bills will be considered by the Florida legislature in 2016, so it should be a fun year. Stay tuned to this blog!
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