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Antievolution legislation in Missouri

Missouri's House Bill 1472, introduced in the House of Representatives on January 16, 2013, is the third antiscience bill of the year, following Virginia's HB 207 and Oklahoma's SB 1765. If enacted, the bill would require "[a]ny school district or charter school which provides instruction relating to the theory of evolution by natural selection" to have "a policy on parental notification and a mechanism where a parent can choose to remove the student from any part of the district's or school's instruction on evolution." Parents and guardians would receive a notification containing "[t]he basic content of the district's or school's evolution instruction to be provided to the student" and "[t]he parent's right to remove the student from any part of the district's or school's evolution instruction."

NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch commented, "House Bill 1472 would eviscerate the teaching of biology in Missouri." Quoting "The OOPSIE Compromise — A Big Mistake," which Eugenie C. Scott and he wrote for Evolution: Education and Outreach in 2008, he added, "Evolution inextricably pervades the biological sciences; it therefore pervades, or at any rate ought to pervade, biology education at the K–12 level. There simply is no alternative to learning about it; there is no substitute activity. A teacher who tries to present biology without mentioning evolution is like a director trying to produce Hamlet without casting the prince." Teachers, schools, and districts would suffer as well, Branch observed. "The value of a high school education in Missouri would be degraded."

The sponsors of HB 1472 are Rick Brattin (R-District 55) and Andy Koenig (R-District 99). Both have a history of sponsoring antievolution legislation in Missouri. In 2012, Koenig sponsored and Brattin cosponsored House Bill 1276, a "strengths and weaknesses" bill, and Brattin sponsored and Koenig cosponsored House Bill 1227, which would have required equal time for "intelligent design" in public schools, including introductory courses at colleges and universities. In 2013, Koenig sponsored and Brattin cosponsored House Bill 179, a "strengths and weaknesses" bill, and Brattin sponsored and Koenig cosponsored House Bill 291, which would have required equal time for "intelligent design" in public schools, including introductory courses at colleges and universities. All died.