The Alabama Senate voted to adopt House Joint Resolution 78 (PDF) on a voice vote on May 2, 2017, joining the Alabama House of Representatives, which voted to adopt the resolution in April 2017.
The resolution ostensibly urges state and local education authorities to promote the academic freedom of science teachers in the state's public schools. "Biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning" are specifically identified as controversial.
As NCSE previously reported, Amanda Glaze, writing on AL.com (April 27, 2017), noted that the lead sponsor of HJR 78 acknowledged that his intention was to encourage the teaching of creationism, asking, "So HJR 78 is aimed at encouraging teachers not only to miseducate their students but also to violate the law of the land. Is this a responsible legislative goal?"
Joining Glaze in criticism of the resolution was the editorial board of the Anniston Star (April 28, 2017), which observed, "HJR 78 serves one purpose — to allow teachers to weaken the state Board of Education’s science curriculum on evolution if they so choose," adding, "This is yet another example of legislators ignoring Alabama's true needs."
HJR 78 is the second example of a non-binding resolution version of the familiar "academic freedom" acts; the first, Indiana's Senate Resolution 17, was passed by the Indiana Senate on February 27, 2017.