Antiscience bill in Mississippi

02.09.2016

House Bill 50, introduced in the Mississippi House of Representatives and referred to the House Education Committee on February 8, 2016, would, if enacted, allow science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach anything they pleased — and prohibit responsible educational authorities from intervening.

The bill specifically cites biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning as topics that "may cause debate and disputation," claiming that "Some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information when debate and disputation occur on these subjects."

HB 50 is the first antiscience bill in Mississippi since 2010. Previous such bills were unsuccessful, but in 2006, a bill initially unrelated to science education was amended to include a similar provision allowing teachers to discuss "the origin of life" however they please and subsequently enacted as Mississippi Code section 37-11-63 (2013).

The principal sponsor of HB 50 is Mark Formby (R-District 108); its cosponsors are Lester Carpenter (R-District 1), Beckie Currie (R-District 92), and John L. Moore (R-District 60). Formby and Currie are members of the House Education Committee, to which the bill was referred, and Moore serves as its chair.