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Missouri antievolution bill dies

When the Missouri General Assembly adjourned on May 13, 2011, House Bill 195 died in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee without receiving a hearing. If enacted, the bill would have required state and local education administrators to "endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues, including biological and chemical evolution" and to "endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies."

HB 195 was the second of the nine antievolution bills introduced in seven states in 2011 so far. Of the remaining bills, Florida's SB 1854, Kentucky's HB 169, New Mexico's HB 302, and Oklahoma's SB 554 and HB 1551 are dead; Texas's HB 2454 is still in committee but is expected to die when the legislature adjourns on May 30, 2011; and Tennessee's HB 368 passed in the House of Representatives, but its counterpart SB 893 is on hold until 2012. In the meantime, Louisiana's Senate Bill 70, which if enacted would repeal the state's antievolution bill enacted in 2008, is in the Senate Education Committee — currently chaired by Ben Nevers (D-District 12), who shepherded the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act through the state senate in 2008.