Three antievolution bills die in Alabama
May 3, 2005, was the final day for proposed legislation to pass in either the House or the Senate and still have a chance of passing in the other chamber of the Alabama legislature. Among the dozens of bills that died were HB 352, HB 716 and SB 240. Virtually identical, these bills purported to protect the right of teachers "to present scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories" and the right of students to "hold positions regarding scientific views." In language reminiscent of the Santorum language removed from the No Child Left Behind Act, they specified that "[t]he rights and privileges contained in this act apply when topics are taught that may generate controversy, such as biological or chemical origins." Two similar bills died at the end of the 2004 legislative session.
In a post on the Panda's Thumb web log, Bob Collins of Alabama Citizens for Science wrote "We were better organized this year, and it worked!! Thanks to everyone who called, wrote, faxed, talked to their legislators and/or testified. We made a difference!!!!" The next challenge ahead in Alabama, Collins adds, is the state textbook adoption process: "This summer and fall, the Alabama State Board of Education will pick science textbooks for our schoolchildren. They will also decide whether to continue use of the embarrassing 'Evolution Disclaimer' pasted in the front of every elementary, middle and high school textbook that mentions anything that happened over 6,000 years ago."