"Intelligent design" legislation in Texas again

House Bill 285, prefiled in the Texas House of Representatives on December 14, 2012, would, if enacted, add a provision to the state's education code providing, "An institution of higher education may not discriminate against or penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or academic support, a faculty member or student based on the faculty member's or student's conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms." Filed by Bill Zedler (R-District 96), the bill will not be considered until the legislature convenes, on January 8, 2013, at the earliest.

HB 285 is identical to HB 2454, which Zedler introduced in 2011. At the time, the Texas Freedom Network commented on its blog (March 9, 2011), "Institutions of higher education should — and do — protect academic freedom. Rep. Zedler's bill would instead require our colleges and universities to aid and protect academic fraud. But with the State Board of Education promoting anti-science propaganda in public schools, we shouldn't be surprised that higher education is increasingly a target as well." HB 2454 died in the House Committee on Higher Education without receiving a hearing when the legislature adjourned sine die on May 30, 2011.