Continued calls for "monkey bill" veto

Bill HaslamBill Haslam

With Tennessee's "monkey bill" still on Governor Bill Haslam's desk, columnists in the state's newspapers continue to criticize the bill and call for a veto. House Bill 368, would, if enacted, encourage teachers to present the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of topics that arouse "debate and disputation" such as "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning." The deadline for Haslam to sign the bill, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto it is April 10, 2012.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal (April 6, 2012) editorially wrote, "Gov. Bill Haslam should heed the appeal of more than 3,000 petitioners and veto a bill that would protect Tennessee teachers who allow students to criticize evolution and other scientific theories," adding, "in a time when a firm knowledge of science is an important element in our students being prepared to compete in the global marketplace, passage of this kind of legislation is baffling." The editorial concluded, "Haslam said he will sign the bill. He should reconsider."

Frank Daniels III, writing in the Nashville Tennessean (April 8, 2012), urged, "as an aspiring educational leader he should veto the 'evolution' bill that has been thrust down the throat of our state by legislators pretending to be in favor of 'open debate' in the classroom," adding, "The bill, one of a plethora of model bills ginned up by national know-nothing organizations that our legislators are swilling, is not about promoting freedom of debate in the classroom. The bill represents a deliberate attack on behalf of a specific ideology that wants to substitute speculation for science."

Also opposing the bill have been the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, the Nashville Tennessean, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the National Earth Science Teachers Association, the Tennessee Educational Association, and the Tennessee Science Teachers Association.