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Textbook Disclaimer Nearly Adopted, but Fails Twice

The Oklahoma state legislature dealt with proposed evolution textbook disclaimers twice during its 2003 session. House Bill 1504 would have required a disclaimer, similar to Alabama’s, which has been suggested several times in recent years before the Oklahoma Textbook Committee and the Legislature. HB 1504 was referred to the House Education Committee, but not considered further there, and died when the session adjourned.

Later in the 2003 session the same disclaimer was adopted by the House as an amendment to Senate Bill 346. SB 346 originally dealt with limiting liability suits against educational entities (school boards, school administrators, teachers and staff). This bill was itself controversial and was opposed by some teachers groups and trial lawyers and favored by other groups (e.g., school boards). After the House attached the disclaimer amendment, the Senate had to consider this new version of SB 346. The Senate voted to accept the disclaimer amendment, but then the entire bill failed to pass by two votes. At the very end of the session the bill was again brought up for reconsideration, a move which failed by one vote. The legislature adjourned on May 30.

[Victor Hutchison contributed information to this report.]