Amendments are flying

Tomorrow, the Florida House is expected to debate and consider amendments to House Bill 1483. There will not be a final vote that day, though. This bill in its current form is proposing a one line addition to the Florida Statutes concerning Required Instruction in the public schools. The bill sponsor, Rep. Hays, wishes to slip this line (in bold) into Florida law:

Members of the instructional staff of the public schools, subject to the rules of the State Board of Education and the district school board, shall teach efficiently and faithfully, using the books and materials required that meet the highest standards for professionalism and historic accuracy, following the prescribed courses of study, and employing approved methods of instruction, the following:
(u) A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution.

Today, a couple of amendments were filed ahead of tomorrow’s debate. Rep. Kiar fought hard during a House Schools and Learning committee meeting against this bill, recognizing its sneaky religious origins. He filed his first amendment today (873501), suggesting that the following in Hays’ bills “1003.42; requiring public school instruction in, and the critical analysis of, the scientific theory of evolution;” be replaced with Kiar’s language as such: “1003.42, F.S.; requiring public school instruction in the scientific theory of evolution;“. I don’t see that getting anywhere in the House, though.

Next, Kiar filed another amendment (013747), which tweaks the language of this line in Hays’ bill “A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the” to add a word so that it then says: “A thorough presentation and scientific critical analysis of the“.

Are you still with me? Kiar isn’t done yet. He then filed a third amendment (091049). This time, he wanted to insert a couple of lines as such: “(4) The provisions of this section shall not permit any member of the instructional staff of a public school to teach or promote any religious doctrine, teach or promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or teach or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.” However, please note that Kiar withdrew this particular amendment this afternoon.

That’s it for Kiar. But wait! There’s more coming!

The Florida Senate approved an “Evolution Academic Freedom Act” this week. So Senate Bill 2692 was then shipped over to the House for consideration. The problem is that the Senate bill and the House bill are completely different. So, our intrepid Rep. Hays has filed an amendment (307351) to strike every word of the Senate bill and replace it with his House version. I’m not sure where he thinks he’s going with that, seeing as how the Senate resoundingly voted against that very same attempt by Sen. Storms.

Friday should be interesting!

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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