"Intelligent design" legislation in Texas dies
Texas's House Bill 285 died in the House Committee on Higher Education on May 6, 2013, when the deadline for House committees to pass House bills expired. If enacted, HB 285 would have amended Texas's education code to provide that "[a]n institution of higher education may not discriminate against or penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or academic support, a faculty member or student based on the faculty member's or student's conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms." The bill's sole sponsor was Bill Zedler (R-District 96), who introduced the identical HB 2454 in 2011; he told the Houston Chronicle (January 7, 2013) that he was inspired by the movie Expelled.
HB 285 was scheduled for a committee hearing on April 17, 2013. In advance of the hearing, nineteen faculty members at the University of Texas at Austin wrote to the committee to express their opposition, explaining (PDF), "While we strongly support academic freedom and protections for valid scientific research, we don’t think colleges and universities should be required to look the other way when faculty and students distort mainstream science. Yet HB 285's broad language could require that colleges and universities do more than simply look the other way. By barring discrimination 'in any manner,' HB 285 could force our state's institutions of higher education to fund research that distorts the mainstream science on evolution." In the event, however, the committee never addressed the bill.