Oklahoma antiscience bill dies

Oklahoma's House Bill 1551, one of two bills attacking the teaching of evolution and of climate change active in the Oklahoma legislature during 2012, is now in effect dead, according to Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education. Originally introduced in 2011, HB 1551 was rejected by the House Common Education Committee in that year, but revived and passed by the committee in 2012, and then passed by the House of Representatives on a 56-12 vote on March 15, 2012, and sent to the Senate Education Committee, where it died. April 2, 2012, was the last meeting of the Senate Education Committee in the present legislative session, and April 5, 2012, is the deadline for single-assigned house bills (such as HB 1551) to be reported from their senate committees.

OESE credited the victory to the outcry, prompted by national and state organizations, from concerned Oklahomans to their state senators: "The result of these efforts resulted in HUNDREDS of messages being sent to members of the Senate committee. The messages were still arriving at committee members' offices on Monday morning as the Committee was meeting. These messages, along with some direct lobbying efforts with committee members by individuals and organizations, were certainly responsible for the defeat. All who helped are thanked for their important help. Thus, in influencing legislation, NUMBERS DO COUNT." But OESE also warned, "The creationists are not likely to stop," adding, "we must be prepared to continue the opposition in future years."