It’s happening again in Florida. We discussed that state’s first creationism bill this year in Florida Creationism Bill for 2019. But that wasn’t enough madness for the Sunshine State.
Now the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) posted this news: A second antiscience bill in Florida. Here are some excerpts from NCSE’s post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Florida’s House Bill 855, filed on February 15, 2019, would, if enacted, revise the state’s laws concerning public school instructional materials — and possibly affect science education.
We looked at the bill. Egad, the thing is 24 pages long! It doesn’t specifically mention evolution, so it’s one of those stealth jobs we’ve been seeing lately. If this mess becomes law, every school board in the state will need a few new bureaucrats on the payroll just to keep up with this thing. NCSE says:
The bill would revise a statute that presently requires instructional materials to be “accurate, objective, balanced, noninflammatory, current, [and] free of pornography” to require such materials to be “accurate and factual; provide objective, balanced, and noninflammatory viewpoints on controversial issues; [and] free of pornography.”
We’ve seen bills like that before. It can be assumed that evolution is regarded as controversial by the bill’s author. NCSE continues:
No definition of “controversial” is provided. But as Brandon Haught of Florida Citizens for Science observed in a February 17, 2019 blog post, the bill’s sponsor, Walter Bryan “Mike” Hill (R-District 1) “refused to acknowledge that global warming is a very real threat being caused by humans” when interviewed by Bill Nye for a 2016 documentary.
Brandon Haught is a knowledgeable source of information. We looked up the legislature’s web page for Walter Bryan “Mike” Hill, the bill’s sponsor. It says: “Elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2018,” so we assume this is his first legislative session. His occupation is Insurance Agent. Also, they say he graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1980. That is absolutely admirable. But they also say: “Pensacola Christian Academy, Honorary Doctorate, 2015,” and his religious affiliation is “Evangelical Christian.” We’re speculating, but he just might be a creationist.
NCSE then tells us:
Also of concern, as Haught notes, are provisions that expand the ability of Floridians to challenge instructional materials to which they take exception. In 2017, as NCSE previously reported, Florida enacted a law that empowered Floridians to challenge instructional materials, and climate change and evolution were clearly among the targets of the new law.
In other words, this new bill is bad news. Here’s a link where you can track the progress of House Bill 855. Nothing has happened since it was filed on 15 February. That’s not surprising. The legislature won’t convene until 05 March, and they’re scheduled to adjourn on 03 May.
We won’t be seeing much news on this for a while — unless Mike Hill gives the press an entertaining interview or something. We’ll be watching.
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