Antiscience bill dies in Ohio

12.16.2014

Ohio's House Bill 597 — which if enacted would require students in the state's public schools to "review, in an objective manner, the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories in the [state science] standards" — died in the legislature, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (December 15, 2014).

As NCSE previously reported, HB 597, aimed primarily at eliminating Common Core, also contained a provision requiring the state's science standards to "prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another." A sponsor of the bill, Andy Thompson (R-District 95), explained that local school districts would be allowed to teach creationism along with evolution and global warming denial alongside climate science.

In the House Rules and Reference Committee, the objectionable provision was removed, but it was replaced with the "strengths and weaknesses" language, familiar from antiscience bills across the country. The result was passed by the committee on November 5, 2014, but a member of the committee who voted against the bill told the Cleveland Plain Dealer (November 5, 2014) that she thought that it was unlikely to proceed further.

According to the Plain Dealer, Thompson's subsequent attempts to bring HB 597 to a vote and to attach it to other bills were unsuccessful. Thompson told the newspaper, "Repeal will be high on the agenda next year," but was not reported as commenting specifically on the issue of the state science standards.