Antievolution legislation in Florida


Senate Bill 2692 (PDF) was introduced in the Florida State Senate on February 29, 2008, under the rubric of "The Academic Freedom Act," by Ronda Storms (R-District 10). The bill 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."

Although the bill explicitly states, "The provisions of this section do not require or encourage any change in the state curriculum standards for the K-12 public school system," SB 2692 was introduced to satisfy the demands of Florida creationists disappointed by the state board of education's February 19, 2008, vote to adopt a new set of state science standards in which evolution is presented as a "fundamental concept underlying all of biology." At the blog of Florida Citizens for Science, Brandon Haught wrote, "Chances are that this bill will go nowhere, slipping into a soap opera coma. It's typical grandstanding, and everyone knows it. ... This bill was written in a way to make it way too obvious what the purpose is, and so it won't be taken seriously." But, he added, "It still wouldn't hurt to write to your Florida legislators to let them know what you think of this."