Antiscience legislation in Oklahoma defeated

02.12.2019

Oklahoma's Senate Bill 14, which would have empowered science denial in the classroom, failed on a 6-9 vote to win the recommendation of the House Committee on Education on February 12, 2019.

Styled "the Oklahoma Science Education Act," the bill would ostensibly have provide Oklahoma's teachers with the right to help students "understand, analyze, critique[,] and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught," while prohibiting state and local administrators from exercising supervisory responsibility.

No particular theories were identified as controversial, and the sole sponsor, David Bullard (R-District 6), is new to the legislature, but his predecessor, Josh Brecheen, notoriously filed a string of similar bills — most recently Senate Bill 393 in 2017, which passed the Senate before failing to receive a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives — that were apparently aimed specifically at evolution.

Of the two similar bills introduced in 2019, one, North Dakota's House Bill 1538, was withdrawn from further consideration by its sponsor, and one, South Dakota's House Bill 1270, is with the House Education Committee.