A second antievolution bill in Missouri

House Bill 1276, introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 11, 2012, and not yet referred to a committee, is apparently the fifth antievolution bill of 2012 — and the second in Missouri. The bill would, if enacted, call on state and local education administrators to "endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues, including biological and chemical evolution" and to "endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies." "Toward this end," the bill continues, "teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution."

Andrew Koenig (R-District 88) is the main sponsor of HB 1276; its cosponsors are Rick Brattin (R-District 124), Charlie Davis (R-District 128), Todd Richardson (R-District 154), Sue Allen (R-District 92), Kurt Bahr (District 19), Brent Lasater (R-District 53), Darrell Pollock (R-District 146), Doug Funderburk (R-District 12), Bill Reiboldt (R-District 130), Bill Lant (R-District 131), Casey Guernsey (R-District 3), Dwight Scharnhorst (R-District 93), and Kathie Conway (R-District 14). The text of HB 1276 is identical to the text of HB 195 in 2011; Koenig, Davis, Bahr, Pollock, Funderburk, Reiboldt, Scharnhorst, and Conway were among its sponsors. HB 195 died in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee without receiving a hearing. In the present legislative session, Brattin, Davis, Koenig, Allen, and Pollock are also among the sponsors of HB 1227, which if enacted would require "the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design" in both public elementary and secondary schools and introductory science courses in public institutions of higher education in Missouri.

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