Back to 1981 in Louisiana

At its May 29, 2013, meeting, the Louisiana House Education Committee declined to endorse the attempt to repeal Louisiana's Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act. Enacted in 1981, the Balanced Treatment act was declared to be unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987, but remains in the state's statutes nevertheless. At the May 1, 2013, meeting of the Senate Committee on Education, Dan Claitor (R-District 16) proposed to amend Senate Bill 205 — which originally provided only for the establishment of foreign language immersion programs in public school districts — to repeal the act; the amendment was unanimously adopted by the committee on a voice vote.

The amendment followed on the heels of the failure of Senate Bill 26, which would have repealed the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act. Karen Carter Peterson (D-District 5), who introduced SB 26 (and identical bills in 2012 and 2011), was quoted by the Associated Press (May 13, 2013) as saying, "This act should not be on the books ... It does not make sense." Peterson also proposed to amend SB 205 to repeal the LSEA, but her motion was rejected on a 5-32 vote. Ben Nevers (D-District 12), who sponsored the LSEA in the Senate in 2008, expressed opposition to the repeal of the Balanced Treatment Act, arguing that it would be useful for it to be on the books in case the Edwards decision is ever reversed.

At the House committee's meeting, discussion centered on the provisions concerning the foreign language immersion programs. Asked about the repeal provision, the bill's sponsor Eric LaFleur (D-District 28) described it as "oddball," and indicated that he would not object if it were to be removed. Eventually Rob Shadoin (R-District 12) proposed to remove the provisions repealing the Balanced Treatment Act; his amendment was adopted by voice vote, and the amended bill then passed 7-6. SB 205 now proceeds to the House of Representatives. If it passes, either the Senate will concur with the removal of the repeal provision or the bill will go to a conference committee. The legislative session ends on June 6, 2013.