Antiscience legislation in Oklahoma … again

Oklahoma State Capitol

Oklahoma's Senate Bill 140 (PDF), which would empower science denial in the classroom, was prefiled in the Oklahoma legislature on January 6, 2023.

Styled "the Oklahoma Science Education Act," the bill would ostensibly 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 are identified as controversial, but a string of similar bills in the Oklahoma legislature — most recently Senate Bills 613 and 662 in 2021, which died in committee in the same year — were clearly aimed specifically at evolution. Senate Bill 140's sole sponsor, Nathan Dahm (R-District 33), was also the sole sponsor of 2021's Senate Bill 662, which is substantially similar to Senate Bill 140.

The legislative session begins on February 6, 2023; concerned Oklahomans are urged to get in touch with Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.