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Antievolution bills die in Missouri

Two antievolution bills died in committee in the Missouri House of Representatives on May 16, 2014, when the legislature adjourned.

House Bill 1472 would have, if enacted, required school districts to allow parents to have their children excused from learning about evolution: "Any school district or charter school which provides instruction relating to the theory of evolution by natural selection" would have 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." Interviewed by the Kansas City Star (February 6, 2014), the bill's sponsor Rick Brattin (R-District 55) described evolution as "just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion." HB 1472 was passed by the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education on March 12, 2014, but subsequently died in the House Rules Committee.

House Bill 1587 would have, if enacted, deprived administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating students about "scientific controversies," specifically citing "the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution" as controversial. HB 1587 would have required state and local educational authorities to "assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where 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 the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution"; it would have prevented such authorities from "prohibit[ing] any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of biological or chemical evolution whenever these subjects are taught." The bill was referred to the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education, where it died without a hearing.

In all, seven antievolution bills were introduced in five states (Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia) in 2014; none won passage.