Louisiana, 2008 - SB 561, SB 733

The first such bill to become law, and the first to merge in Ouachita Parish language, including references to "global warming" and "human cloning."

Text of Senate Bill 561 as introduced.

ORIGINAL Regular Session, 2008 SENATE BILL NO. 561 BY SENATOR NEVERS

TEACHERS. Provides for the Louisiana Academic Freedom Act. (gov. sig.)

AN ACT To enact R.S. 17:2118, relative to public elementary and secondary schools; to provide that no public elementary or secondary school governing authority, superintendent, administrator, or principal shall prohibit any teacher from discussing certain scientific evidence; to prohibit certain content-based censorship; to provide for notice of such to local school systems and employees; and to provide for related matters.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:

Section 1. R.S. 17:2118 is hereby enacted to read as follow: §2118. Discussion of certain scientific evidence; prohibitions; limitations; dissemination to local school systems A. The Louisiana Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(1) The Preamble of the Louisiana Constitution declares that the promotion of education is one of the legitimate ends of government.

(2) That the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has promulgated the "Louisiana Science Framework" which states that "the process of scientific inquiry involves 'thinking critically and logically about the relationships between evidence and explanations, constructing and analyzing alternative explanations, and communicating scientific arguments.'"

(3) That an important purpose of science education is to inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills that they need in order to become intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens.

(4) That the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy, and that some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects.

(5) That this Act shall be known as the "Louisiana Academic Freedom 12 Act."

B. The Louisiana Department of Education, public elementary and secondary school governing authorities, superintendents of schools, school system administrators, and public elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, to help students develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues. Such educational authorities in Louisiana shall also endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies. Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.

C. Neither the Louisiana Department of Education, nor any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, superintendent of schools, or school system administrator, nor any public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator shall prohibit 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 existing scientific theories pertinent to the course or courses being taught. Such topics may include those topics listed in Paragraph A(4) of this Section.

D. Neither the Louisiana Department of Education, nor any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, superintendent of schools, or school system administrator, nor any public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator or teacher, in the course and scope of his duties in such capacity, shall censor or suppress in any way any writing, document, record, or other content of any material which references topics listed in Paragraph A(4) of this Section.

E. This Section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and this section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.

F. By no later than the start of the 2008-2009 school term, the state superintendent of elementary and secondary education shall notify all public school system superintendents of the provisions of this Section. Each superintendent shall then disseminate to all employees within his school system a copy of the provisions of this Section.

Section 2. This Act shall become effective upon signature by the governor or, if not signed by the governor, upon expiration of the time for bills to become law without signature by the governor, as provided by Article III, Section 18 of the Constitution of Louisiana. If vetoed by the governor and subsequently approved by the legislature, this Act shall become effective on the day following such approval.

The original instrument and the following digest, which constitutes no part of the legislative instrument, were prepared by Carla S. Roberts.

DIGEST Proposed law creates the Louisiana Academic Freedom Act.

Proposed law specifies legislative findings as follows:

(1) The Preamble of the Louisiana Constitution declares that the promotion of education is one of the legitimate ends of government.

(2) That the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has promulgated the "Louisiana Science Framework" which states that "the process of scientific inquiry involves 'thinking critically and logically about the relationships between evidence and explanations, constructing and analyzing alternative explanations, and communicating scientific arguments.'"

(3) That an important purpose of science education is to inform students about scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills that they need in order to become intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens.

(4) That the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy, and that some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects.

Proposed law provides that the Louisiana Department of Education, public elementary and secondary school governing authorities, superintendents of schools, school system administrators, and public elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, to help students develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.

Proposed law provides that the Louisiana Department of Education, nor any school official shall not prohibit any teacher in a public school system from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review, in an objective manner, the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course or courses being taught. Such topics may include biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

Proposed law prohibits the Louisiana Department of Education or any school official from prohibiting, censoring or suppressing writing, document, record, or other content of any material about biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

Proposed law provides that the legislation only protects the teaching of scientific information, and this section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.

Proposed law provides that, no later than the start of the 2008-2009 school term, the state superintendent of elementary and secondary education shall notify all public school system superintendents of the provisions of this Section. Each superintendent shall then disseminate to all employees within his school system a copy of the provisions of this Section.

Effective upon signature of the governor or lapse of time for gubernatorial action. (Adds R.S. 17:2118)

Text of Senate Bill 733 as substituted in Education Committee.

ORIGINAL Regular Session, 2008 SENATE BILL NO. 733 (Substitute of Senate Bill No. 561 by Senator Nevers) BY SENATOR NEVERS

CURRICULA. Provides for the La. Science Education Act (gov sig)

AN ACT To enact R.S. 17:285.1, relative to curriculum and instruction; to provide relative to the teaching of scientific subjects in public elementary and secondary schools; to promote students' critical thinking skills and open discussion of scientific theories; to provide relative to support and guidance for teachers; to provide relative to textbooks and instructional materials; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for effectiveness; and to provide for related matters. Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:

Section 1. R.S. 17:285.1 is hereby enacted to read as follows:

§285.1. Science education; development of critical thinking skills

A. This Section shall be known and may be cited as the "Louisiana Science Education Act."

B. (1) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon request of a city, parish, or other local public school board, shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories.

(2) Such assistance shall include support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and 4 review scientific theories in an objective manner.

C. A teacher may use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the city, parish, or other local public school board.

D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

E. The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and each city, parish, or other local public school board shall adopt and promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this Section prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.

Section 2. This Act shall become effective upon signature by the governor or, if not signed by the governor, upon expiration of the time for bills to become law without signature by the governor, as provided by Article III, Section 18 of the Constitution of Louisiana. If vetoed by the governor and subsequently approved by the legislature, this Act shall become effective on the day following such approval.

The original instrument and the following digest, which constitutes no part of the legislative instrument, were prepared by Jeanne C. Johnston.

DIGEST Provides that proposed law shall be known as the "Louisiana Science Education Act."

Proposed law requires BESE, upon request of a local school board, to allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories.

Provides that such assistance shall include support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.

Provides that a teacher may use textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the local school board.

Provides that proposed law shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

Requires BESE and local school boards to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement this Act prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.

Effective upon signature of the governor or lapse of time for gubernatorial action. (Adds R.S. 17:285.1)

Text of Senate Bill 733 as amended on Senate floor

REENGROSSED Regular Session, 2008 SENATE BILL NO. 733 (Substitute of Senate Bill No. 561 by Senator Nevers) BY SENATORS NEVERS, CROWE, RISER AND THOMPSON

CURRICULA. Provides for the La. Science Education Act (gov sig)

AN ACT To enact R.S. 17:285.1, relative to curriculum and instruction; to provide relative to the teaching of scientific subjects in public elementary and secondary schools; to promote students' critical thinking skills and open discussion of scientific theories; to provide relative to support and guidance for teachers; to provide relative to textbooks and instructional materials; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for effectiveness; and to provide for related matters. Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:

Section 1. R.S. 17:285.1 is hereby enacted to read as follows:

§285.1. Science education; development of critical thinking skills

A. This Section shall be known and may be cited as the "Louisiana Science Education Act."

B.(1) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon request of a city, parish, or other local public school board, shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

(2) Such assistance shall include support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review scientific theories being studied, including those enumerated in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection.

C. A teacher shall teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the city, parish, or other local public school board.

D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

E. The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and each city, parish, or other local public school board shall adopt and promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this Section prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.

Section 2. This Act shall become effective upon signature by the governor or, if not signed by the governor, upon expiration of the time for bills to become law without signature by the governor, as provided by Article III, Section 18 of the Constitution of Louisiana. If vetoed by the governor and subsequently approved by the legislature, this Act shall become effective on the day following such approval.

The original instrument was prepared by Jeanne Johnston. The following digest, which does not constitute a part of the legislative instrument, was prepared by Linda Nugent.

DIGEST

Provides that proposed law shall be known as the "Louisiana Science Education Act."

Proposed law requires BESE, upon request of a local school board, to allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

Provides that such assistance shall include support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review such scientific theories being studied.

Provides that a teacher shall teach material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the local school board.

Provides that proposed law shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

Requires BESE and local school boards to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement this Act prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.

Effective upon signature of the governor or lapse of time for gubernatorial action.

(Adds R.S. 17:285.1)

Summary of Amendments Adopted by Senate

Senate Floor Amendments to engrossed bill.

1. Specifies the scientific theories being studied include evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

2. Requires a teacher to first teach material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and then authorizes him to use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials.

Text of Senate Bill 733 as signed by Governor Jindal, becoming Act 473.

ENROLLED Regular Session, 2008 ACT No. 473 SENATE BILL NO. 733 (Substitute of Senate Bill No. 561 by Senator Nevers) BY SENATORS NEVERS, ADLEY, AMEDEE, BROOME, CASSIDY, CHEEK, CRAVINS, CROWE, DONAHUE, DORSEY, DUPLESSIS, ERDEY, B. GAUTREAUX, N. GAUTREAUX, GRAY, HEBERT, KOSTELKA, LONG, MARTINY, MOUNT, MURRAY, RISER, SHAW, SHEPHERD, THOMPSON AND WALSWORTH AND REPRESENTATIVES ANDERS, ARMES, ARNOLD, AUBERT, AUSTIN BADON, BARROW, BURFORD, HENRY BURNS, TIM BURNS, BURRELL, CARMODY, CARTER, CHANDLER, CHANEY, CORTEZ, DANAHAY, DIXON, DOERGE, DOWNS, EDWARDS, ELLINGTON, FANNIN, FRANKLIN, GEYMANN, GISCLAIR, GREENE, ELBERT GUILLORY, MICKEY GUILLORY, GUINN, HARDY, HARRISON, HAZEL, HENDERSON, HENRY, HILL, HINES, HOFFMANN, HOWARD, HUTTER, KATZ, KLECKLEY, LABRUZZO, LAMBERT, LIGI, LITTLE, LOPINTO, MCVEA, MILLS, MONICA, NORTON, PEARSON, PERRY, PUGH, RICHARD, RICHARDSON, RITCHIE, SCHRODER, SIMON, SMILEY, GARY SMITH, JANE SMITH, TUCKER, WHITE AND WILLIAMS

AN ACT 2 To enact R.S. 17:285.1, relative to curriculum and instruction; to provide relative to the teaching of scientific subjects in public elementary and secondary schools; to promote students' critical thinking skills and open discussion of scientific theories; to provide relative to support and guidance for teachers; to provide relative to textbooks and instructional materials; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for effectiveness; and to provide for related matters. Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:

Section 1. R.S. 17:285.1 is hereby enacted to read as follows:

§285.1. Science education; development of critical thinking skills

A. This Section shall be known and may be cited as the "Louisiana Science Education Act."

B.(1) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon request of a city, parish, or other local public school board, shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

(2) Such assistance shall include support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review scientific theories being studied, including those enumerated in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection.

C. A teacher shall teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the city, parish, or other local public school board unless otherwise prohibited by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

E. The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and each city, parish, or other local public school board shall adopt and promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this Section prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year.

Section 2. This Act shall become effective upon signature by the governor or, if not signed by the governor, upon expiration of the time for bills to become law without signature by the governor, as provided by Article III, Section 18 of the Constitution of Louisiana. If vetoed by the governor and subsequently approved by the legislature, this Act shall become effective on the day following such approval.

APPROVED:

PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF LOUISIANA

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