"Strengths and weaknesses" bill in North Dakota withdrawn

01.23.2019

North Dakota's House Bill 1538 (PDF), which would have allowed the misrepresentation of science in the classroom, was withdrawn from further consideration by its chief sponsor on January 22, 2019.

The bill would have ostensibly promoted "the freedom to teach students the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories and controversies" while prohibiting state and local administrators from exercising supervisory responsibility over teachers.

No scientific topics were specifically identified as controversial, although evolution and global warming have often been cited, wrongly, as controversial in similar bills elsewhere, and no guidance was provided about adjudicating disputes about which are and which are not.

The sponsors were Jeff A. Hoverson (R-District 3), Daniel Johnston (R-District 24), Kim Koppelman (R-District 13), Bob  Paulson (R-District 3), and Luke Simons (R-District 36).