Two down in Oklahoma

Oklahoma's House Bill 1674 (PDF), which would, if enacted, have deprived administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating students about "scientific controversies," died in the Senate Education Committee on April 3, 2014, when a deadline for House bills to be passed by their Senate committees expired. HB 1674 previously passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 70-6 vote on March 3, 2014.

As introduced (PDF) in February 2013, HB 1674 specifically mentioned "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning" as subjects which "some teachers may be unsure" about how to teach. Later, in February 2014, Gus Blackwell (R-District 61), a sponsor of HB 1674 along with Sally Kern (R-District 81), Arthur Hulbert (R-District 14), and Josh Brecheen in the Senate (R-District 61), amended the bill to omit the specific details.

According to KFOR television in Oklahoma City (March 27, 2014), "Blackwell says the bill's current language doesn’t mandate teaching creationism in the classroom, but instead gives teachers the right to talk about scientific evidence that challenges Darwinian evolution." Bob Melton of the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association retorted, "There is no doubt, or discussion, or controversy about evolution or climate change."

HB 1674 was not the only antiscience bill active in the Oklahoma legislature in 2014: a similar bill, Senate Bill 1765 (PDF), died in the Senate Education Committee in February 2014, after the National Association of Biology Teachers and the American Institute of Biological Sciences expressed their opposition to the bill. Leading the resistance to both bills, as usual, was the grassroots organization Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education.