In the most recent sign that Louisiana lawmakers aren't keen on fully embracing the teaching of evolution in state schools, members of the House Education Committee voted Wednesday to kill an effort to remove an obsolete and unconstitutional pro-creationism law from the books.
Louisiana's Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act has existed in state statutes since 1981, despite being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1987 as a violation of the First Amendment. The law forbade public schools from teaching evolution unless "creation science" was in the curriculum as well. Members of the the state Senate Committee on Education voted earlier this month to advance a measure to do away with it, but their colleagues in the state House apparently didn't agree with the move.
State House members voted Wednesday to remove the amendment to Senate Bill 205 that would have officially dispatched with the Balanced Treatment Act.
Science educators were displeased with the move.
“There’s no good reason to keep an unconstitutional law on the books,” Josh Rosenau, programs and policy director at the National Center for Science Education, told Raw Story. “But since a law which has been struck down is dead letter, the choice to remove it is symbolic, too.”
It's been a discouraging month for the science curriculum in Louisiana. Earlier in May, the state Senate Committee on Education rejected a move to repeal the Science Education Act, which essentially allows the teaching of creationism in science class.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has been a vocal proponent of attempts to boost creationism in the state. Last month, he said he was fine with public schools teaching students about creationism or intelligent design and letting them make up their own minds about whether those theories trumped evolution.