Controversial Florida legislation dies


When the legislative session of the Florida House of Representatives ended on May 6, 2005, House Bill 837 -- a version of the so-called Academic Bill of Rights promoted by conservative activist David Horowitz -- died. Its sponsor, Dennis Baxley, was earlier quoted as suggesting that a student could sue under the proposed law if a professor were to say, "Evolution is a fact. I don't want to hear about Intelligent Design ... and if you don't like it, there's the door." He was also reported to have claimed that as a Florida State University student "he was subjected to a 'tirade' on evolution being right and creationism being wrong." According to a later story in the Tallahassee Democrat [Link broken] (April 22, 2005), however, Baxley denied both that HB 837 was intended to force the teaching of creationism and that the bill would have enabled students to sue. Even before the House adjourned, it was clear that the bill was unlikely to pass, but Baxley was reportedly pleased that it at least sparked a discussion about classroom bias.