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Antievolution bill in Tennessee progresses

Tennessee's House Bill 368 was passed on a 9-4 vote, with no testimony or discussion, at the House General Subcommittee of Education meeting on March 16, 2011. A version of the "academic freedom" antievolution bill, HB 368 would, if enacted, require state and local educational authorities to "assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies" and permit teachers to "help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught." The only examples provided of "controversial" theories are "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

Voting for the bill were Harry Brooks (R-District 19), Kevin Brooks (R-District 24), Joe Carr (R-District 48), John J. DeBerry Jr. (D-District 90), the bill's sponsor Bill Dunn (R-District 16), Joey Hensley (R-District 70), Ron Lollar (R-District 99), Debra Young Maggar (R-District 45), and Richard Montgomery (R-District 12); voting against were Lois M. DeBerry (D-District 91), Craig Fitzhugh (D-District 82), Jimmy Naifeh (D-District 81), and Joe Pitts (D-District 67). The bill now proceeds to the full House Education Committee, which is scheduled to consider it at its meeting on March 22, 2011, beginning at noon; e-mail NCSE's Joshua Rosenau or Steven Newton if you're able to attend.