A second antievolution bill in Florida


House Bill 1483 (PDF) was introduced in the Florida House of Representatives on March 4, 2008, by D. Alan Hays (R-District 25). The bill, identical to Senate Bill 2692, purports to protect the right of teachers to "objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological origins" and the right of students not to be "penalized in any way because he or she subscribes to a particular position or view regarding biological or chemical evolution." Presumably attempting to avert the charge that it would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the bill also specifies that its provisions "shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion."

The Tampa Tribune (March 4, 2008) reported that although the chair of the Senate Committee on Education Pre-K-12 hopes to schedule a hearing on SB 2692, "the plan faces plenty of resistance from lawmakers in both parties, who say they are loath to rewrite the teaching standards that the state Board of Education passed last month." Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller (D-District 31) was quoted as saying, "I never thought I'd be in the Florida Senate in the 21st century, still having the same debate about evolution," adding, "I don't care if they say this is 'science,' ... You may find a few quack scientists who say it is, but it isn't." The Tribune (March 4, 2008) also editorially denounced the bill, writing, "If Florida lawmakers really want world-class curriculum, they'll let education experts – not politicians – build them."