This is a summary/tracking post that was updated throughout the Florida legislative session concerning two anti-evolution bills that were introduced in the Senate and House. Fortunately, the bills never made it into law in 2008.
SB 2692 Teaching Chemical and Biological Evolution; Cites act as the “Academic Freedom Act.”
— Filed 2/29/08 by Senator Ronda Storms.
— Introduced 03/20/08, referred to Education Pre-K – 12 committee and Judiciary committee.
— Scheduled on Committee agenda Education Pre-K – 12 for 03/26/08, 1:00 p.m.
— Bill analysis and committee amendment, essentially an edited version of the bill, are created on 3/25/08.
— Bill approved 3/26/08 by a 4-1 vote in the Education Pre-K – 12 committee meeting. Sens. Lisa Carlton, Alex Diaz de la Portilla, Steve Wise, and Larcenia Bullard voted for it. Committee Chairman Don Gaetz and Vice Chairwoman Frederica Wilson were absent. Sen. Ted Deutch was the lone dissent.
— Scheduled on Committee agenda Judiciary for 04/08/08, 10:45 a.m.
— Bill approved 4/8/08 by a 7-3 party line vote in the Judiciary committee meeting. Sens. Baker, Diaz de la Portilla, Fasano, Gaetz, Saunders, Webster, Villalobos voted for it. Sens. Ring, Geller, Deutch voted against it.
— Given second reading 4/17/08. Amendment proposed to meld “academic freedom” for both evolution and sex education. Amendment failed. During debate, Sen. Storms was questioned about intelligent design but steadfastly refuses to give a straight answer.
— Sen. Storms proposes amendment to her bill 4/22/08, which completely changes it to mirror the single line version REp. Hays is pushing through the House.
— Storms’ bill passes the full Senate on a vote of 21-17 on 4/23/08. However, her amendment from the day before failed. The bill was then sent to the House for its consideration.
— The House had a completely different version of the bill. Since the Senate had already rejected the House’s language when Storms proposed it as an amendment to her bill, she knew it would be a waste of time present the House’s final, approved version to her fellow senators. So, she shipped her Senate bill back to the house and asked that body to have another look at it and approve it. However, the final day of the session arrived (5/2/08) and the House leadership simply refused to even bring the bill to the floor. As a result, both the House and Senate bills died. Final result: no deceptively named “evolution academic freedom” law in Florida.
STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HB 1483 Teaching Chemical and Biological Evolution: Cites act as “Academic Freedom Act.”
— Filed 3/4/08 by Rep. D. Alan Hays.
— Bill had its first reading 3/4/08.
— Rep. Hays invites fellow lawmakers to screening of movie Expelled.
— Referred to the Schools & Learning Council, Friday, 3/7/08. House Schools & Learning Council page here.
— Scheduled on committee agenda Schools and Learning for 04/11/08, 9:30 a.m.
— Bill approved 4/11/08 by a 7-4 party line vote in the Schools and Learning committee meeting. Reps. Altman, Legg, McKeel, Pickens, Coley, McBurney, Flores voted for it. Reps. Bendross-Mindingall, Long, Kiar, Vana voted against it. Bill was amended to make it just one line emphasizing “critical analysis” of evolution. House version is now significantly different from Senate version.
– Bill is scheduled for second reading to happen 4/25/08. At this time amendments are considered and debate happens, but there is no vote yet. The voting doesn’t happen until a third reading at a later date, which is not yet scheduled. Two amendments were filed on 4/24/08 by Rep. Martin David Kiar, who was opposed to the bill when it was before the Schools and Learning committee.
— The Senate bill was approved and sent to the House. The Senate and House bills are vastly different. Rep. Hays has filed an amendment to the Senate bill for the House’s consideration. This amendment would completely change it to conform to the House version. However, Sen. Storms had already tried that same tactic in the Senate before its final vote, but the amendment failed.
— Debate lasted an hour and a half in the House during the second reading on 04/25/08. The House bill was officially dropped in favor of the Senate bill. But the Senate bill text was then completely stripped and replaced with the House bill text. Essentially, the House bill is still there, just under a different bill number. Democrats were successful in adding the word “scientific” to Hays’ bill.
— Bill voted on by the full House 04/28/08 and passed 71-43.
– The Senate had a completely different version of the bill. Since the Senate had already rejected the House’s language when Storms proposed it as an amendment to her bill, she knew it would be a waste of time present the House’s final, approved version to her fellow senators. So, she shipped her Senate bill back to the house and asked that body to have another look at it and approve it. However, the final day of the session arrived (5/2/08) and the House leadership simply refused to even bring the bill to the floor. As a result, both the House and Senate bills died. Final result: no deceptively named “evolution academic freedom” law in Florida.