What's next for South Carolina's mammoth debate?


The South Carolina Senate insisted on its version of House Bill 4482 — which refers to the Sixth Day of Creation — on a 28-13 vote on April 30, 2014, and so the bill proceeds to a conference committee. As NCSE previously reported, HB 4482 was intended to designate the Columbian mammoth as the official state fossil and passed the House on a 94-3 vote in February 3, 2014, but the Senate amended it to add "as created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field" after each instance of "mammoth." When the amended bill returned to the House, it was rejected on a 72-30 vote.

Appointed to the conference committee from the Senate were Kevin L. Bryant (R-District 3), who introduced the "Sixth Day" amendment after his amendment to designate Genesis 1:24-25, which describes the sixth day of creation, as the official state passage from an ancient historical text, was rejected; Kevin L. Johnson (D-District 36), who was among the thirteen senators to vote to abandon the amendment on April 30, 2014; and Ross Turner (R-District 8), who was among the twenty-eight senators to vote to insist on the amendment.

Appointed to the conference committee from the House were Phillip D. Owens (R-District 5), who voted for the amended bill in the House; William M. Hixon (R-District 83), who was absent from the vote on the amended bill in the House; and Robert L. Ridgeway III (D-District 64), who introduced the original version of HB 4482 in the first place, at the behest of a constituent — eight-year-old paleontology enthusiast Olivia McConnell — and who voted for the amended bill in the House. In all, four of the six members of the conference committee have already voted for the "Sixth Day" version of the bill.