Antievolution legislation in Florida

Senate Bill 1854, introduced in the Florida Senate on March 5, 2011, would, if enacted, amend a section of Florida law to require "[a] thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution" in the state's public schools. The bill is sponsored by Stephen R. Wise (R-District 5), who in February 2009 introduced SB 2396 (PDF), which would have amended the same section of Florida law in the same way. Before Wise introduced SB 2396, he announced his intention to introduce a bill requiring "intelligent design" to be taught in Florida's public schools. "If you're going to teach evolution, then you have to teach the other side so you can have critical thinking," he told the Jacksonville Times-Union (February 8, 2009). Wise acknowledged that his bill was likely to invite a legal challenge, but contended, "Someplace along the line you've got to be able to make a value judgment of what it is you think is the appropriate thing." Evidently he changed his mind about how to accomplish his goal, since "intelligent design" was not mentioned in the bill. SB 2396 was denounced as "an insult to citizens who are tired of stomping over the same ground over and over again" by Florida Citizens for Science and described (PDF) as "a deliberate attempt to undermine the adopted science standards" by the Florida Academy of Sciences. On May 1, 2009, the bill died in committee when the legislature adjourned. SB 1854 is the eighth antievolution bill introduced in a state legislature in 2011.