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Antievolution legislation stirring
On December 1, 2004, House Bill 35 was introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives. (Although the legislature is not in session until January 5, 2005, in Missouri it is possible to "prefile" bills and resolutions in order to expedite legislation.) HB 35 would require that:
All biology textbooks sold to the public schools of the state of Missouri shall have one or more chapters containing a critical analysis of origins. The chapters shall convey the distinction between data and testable theories of science and philosophical claims that are made in the name of science. Where topics are taught that may generate controversy, such as biological evolution, the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society.The second and third sentences, of course, are modelled after the so-called Santorum language, present only in the Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference for the No Child Left Behind Act and not in the act itself.
The sponsor of the bill, Cynthia Davis, was a cosponsor of both of last year's "intelligent design" bills in the Missouri House of Representatives, HB 911 and HB 1722. HB 911 would have required "the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design" in Missouri's public schools, and moreover would have provided that "Willful neglect of any elementary or secondary school superintendent, principal, or teacher to observe and carry out the requirements of this section shall be cause for termination of his or her contract" and "Each public school classroom in this state from grades eight through twelve in which science is taught exclusively shall post a copy of this section in a conspicuous manner." These draconian provisions were absent from its successor, HB 1722, but no action was taken on either bill before the end of the legislative session on May 14, 2004.
Text of HB 35 as introduced