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On March 5 the Ohio House of Representatives began hearings on two bills introduced as the controversy over new state science standards continues. Rep. Linda Reidelbach, a Columbus Republican, is the primary sponsor of both bills.
On February 7th, 2002 a group of Ohio citizens held a press conference at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to announce the formation of Ohio Citizens for Science (OCS). The group represents parents, citizens, scientists and clergy from all over the state of Ohio concerned with maintaining quality science education in the state's public schools.
On January 24, 2002 a bill was introduced into the Ohio House of Representatives to change that state's procedures for approving the new science standards currently being written. HB 484 would require the science standards to be approved by both houses of the General Assembly. This requirement is new, and would not apply to any other subject. On January 29 SB 222, a bill with the same provisions, was introduced in the state Senate.
On January 23, 2002 House Bill 481 was introduced in the Ohio General Assembly. This bill would require that "origins science" be "taught objectively and without religious, naturalistic, or philosophic bias or assumption." Although the bill does not contain the words "biology" or "evolution", it uses the phrase "origin of life and its diversity" several times, as well as "origins science".
The Ohio Board of Education will hold a panel discussion featuring both advocates and opponents of including intelligent design (ID) in the newly drafted statewide science standards at its March meeting. The decision to hold the discussion came after a contentious meeting on Sunday, January 14th, at which lawyer John Calvert, of the Kansas based Intelligent Design Network, made the case for inclusion of the controversial field in the standards. Opponents of ID were not allowed to speak at the meeting.
Science Excellence for All Ohioans, listed on their web site as a project of the American Family Association of Ohio, has posted on its web site a list of changes it would like to see incorporated into the new Ohio Science Standards. The purpose of the changes is to bring intelligent design into the science curriculum as a “viable alternative explanation for both the origin and diversity of life”.
In September 2000, it was confirmed that the Ohio House Education Committee will not meet again until further notice. HB 679, the bill requiring that “evidence against evolution” be taught whenever evolution is taught, was not acted upon by the committee during 2000 and was not considered before the legislature adjourned. However, concerned NCSE members report that several legislators expressed their approval of the bill and new legislation may be introduced in a future session. Meanwhile, the bill’s chief sponsor, Ron Hood, lost his bid for re-election in November 2000.