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Academic Freedom/Free Speech NEWS

Missouri Becomes Third State to Introduce Academic Freedom Legislation on Teaching of Evolution

Following on the heels of Florida and Louisiana, Missouri legislators have now filed an academic freedom act bill, and a companion bill to protect scientists and researchers, along with educators.

Legislators in Louisiana and Missouri have introduced academic freedom bills that would ensure the freedom of teachers to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of theories of biological and chemical evolution. Florida legislators introduced a similar bill recently which passed through its first committee hearing on a 4-1 vote.

In Louisiana, Sen. Ben Nevers introduced SB 561, and in Missouri Rep. Wayne Cooper has introduced HB 2554. Both bills would protect teachers' academic freedom to teach scientific information that supports or challenges biological and chemical evolution, but expressly do not protect the teaching of religion.

Thursday morning, Ben Stein will be at a press conference in Jefferson City, MO, to throw his support behind the efforts. One state was a breakthrough, two states was great, but three states clearly indicates a growing trend. I know other states have considered such bills in the past, so it will be interesting to see if more states step forward on this issue this year. Read more about the bills here.