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The Texas Legislature adjourned on June 2, 2003. Two proposed bills with potential relevance for evolution education, HB 1172 and HB 1447, died at adjournment. Both bills were related to textbook adoption procedures and the state Board of Education. Either could have made it easier for pressure groups opposing evolution to have more influence in Texas, one of the largest textbook markets in the country. See previous items about these bills on this page for more details.
On May 10 the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 1172 and forwarded it to the Senate. This bill would restore the State Board of Education's (SBOE) authority to reject textbooks for any reason, a power which has been restricted in recent years by other legislation. Previously Texas had been the scene of spirited creationist attacks on evolution during its textbook adoption process. Because of the size of its educational system Texas exerts considerable influence over publishers and the national textbook marketplace.
The Justice Department on April 22 announced that it was closing its inquiry into complaints of religious discrimination by Texas Tech student Micah Spradling against biology professor Michael Dini. See the Justice Department’s press release for details.
House Bill 1172 is scheduled to be considered by the Public Education Committee of the Texas House of Representatives on April 22. Although concerned mainly with the presentation of patriotism, the free enterprise system, and historical events, the proposed bill also contains this provision: "... the board and each school district shall ensure that ... each controversial issue addressed in the public school curriculum is presented in a balanced manner that reflects multiple viewpoints regarding the issue..."
The Public Education Committee of the Texas House of Representatives recently approved HB 1447, which will now be considered by the House as a whole. This bill would return total control of textbook content to the State Board of Education.
Texas Tech University biology professor Michael Dini is reportedly the target of a Justice Department inquiry for refusing to award letters of recommendations to students who deny human evolution.