Anti-Evolution and Anti-Climate Science Legislation Scorecard: 2017

11.27.2017

Thanks in part to NCSE's efforts, it was a bad year for those who would make it easier to miseducate kids about science, with one major exception: Florida. Signed into law in June 2017, Florida's House Bill 989 allows any county resident—not just any parent with a child in the country's public schools—to file a complaint about textbooks and other instructional materials. Climate change and evolution were clearly among the targets of HB 989.

Anti-science legislation fared poorly elsewhere in the U.S. None of the “academic freedom” bills aimed at empowering teachers to miseducate their students passed, although it was close in Oklahoma and South Dakota. In Arkansas, a bill that would allow creationism to be taught never got to the point of being drafted. A novelty in 2017 were “academic freedom” bills in the form of non-binding resolutions, which were passed in Alabama and Indiana.

The legislative lay of the land:

Alabama

House Joint Resolution 78
Aim: "Academic freedom"
Status: Passed House and Senate; did not require governor's signature
Links: Antiscience resolution adopted in Alabama

Arkansas

HB 2050
Aim: would allow creationism to be taught in public schools
Status: Died in House committee
Links: Arkansas creationism bill apparently dies

Florida

HB 989
Aim: Instructional materials challenge
Status: Passed the House and Senate; signed into law

SB 1210
Aim: Instructional materials challenge
Status: Abandoned in favor of HB 989

Links: Florida's antiscience bill becomes law

Idaho

Senate Concurrent Resolution 121
Aim: Delete climate change from state science standards
Status: Passed both houses; did not require governor's signature
Links: Climate change deletion finalized in Idaho

Indiana

Senate Resolution 17
Aim: "Academic freedom"
Status: Passed Senate; did not require House passage or governor's signature
Links: Indiana antiscience resolution passes the Senate

Iowa

HF 140
Aim: Would make state science standards optional or repeal them
Status: Died in House committee

HF 480
Aim: Would require "opposing points of view" to evolution and climate change be taught
Status: Died in House committee

Links: Two down in Iowa

Oklahoma

SB 393
Aim: "Academic freedom" bill
Status: Passed in Senate; died in the House
Links: Oklahoma's antiscience bill blocked

South Dakota

SB 55
Aim: Would have empowered science denial in the classroom
Status: Died in committee
Links: South Dakota's antiscience bill stopped

Texas

HB 1485
Aim: "Academic freedom" bill
Status: Died in House committee
Links: Antiscience legislation dies in Texas

Wisconsin

AB 299
Aim: Campus free speech bill; creationist sponsor claims it might protect creationist college students
Status: Passed Assembly, currently with Senate

SB 250
Aim: Campus free speech bill; creationist sponsor claims it might protect creationist college students
Status: Currently with Senate
Links: Would a Wisconsin bill protect science denial on campus?

CONTACT: Robert Luhn, NCSE, 510-601-7203, luhn@ncse.com, www.ncse.com

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) defends the integrity of science education against ideological interference. We work with teachers, parents, scientists, and concerned citizens at the local, state, and national levels to ensure that topics including evolution and climate change are taught accurately, honestly, and confidently. Our work is made possible by our members and other generous donors.