Stranger Fruit

SB 320 Dies

I had received the news that Oklahoma SB 320 died in committee whilst at the Will Rogers airport heading home. I tried to post some details using my phone but that clearly didn’t work. In the comments section Vic provides the details.

This means the state of the nation currently is:

  • Mississippi – disclaimer – dead in committee
  • Oklahoma – ?strengths and weaknesses? – dead in committee
  • New Mexico – ?strengths and weaknesses? – in committee
  • Iowa – ?academic freedom? – in committee
  • Alabama – ?academic freedom? – in committee.
  • Texas – “strengths and weaknesses” – at state board
  • Florida – looks like there’s to be a “teach intelligent design” proposal on the cards.


  1. #1 James F
    February 16, 2009

    Details, man! We could use the good news! 😀

  2. #2 J-Dog
    February 16, 2009

    It’s OK now in OK – John did one hell of a good job on his lecture evidently. If it weren’t for the Jamison’s the Irish would rule the damn world.

  3. #3 vhutchison
    February 16, 2009

    The bill failed after a heated debate (6 yes, 7 no). The vote was unexpected and resulted in two Republicans siding with the Democrats to defeat the bill. Since the Republicans now control both houses of the legislature, they have a majority on all committees. Republican Senator Halligan (Ph.D. in Chem. Engr. and former President of Oklahoma State University) was strong in his opposition to the bill and joined several Democrats in debating it.

    Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education ( lobbied hard against the bill and led a flurry of messages to the Committee during the past few days, but several other groups (such as those of teachers and the state school board association) also lobbied aganist SB 320.

    This may not end the fight. The bill can come up again as an amendment to another bill or in a ‘ghost bill’ that has been filed by number, but with no content. We must remain vigilant.

  4. #4 James F
    February 16, 2009


    Agreed…but is it over for this legislative session, or at least until other bills up for consideration are voted upon without amendment?

    In any event – thank you and everyone who continues to fight the good fight!

  5. #5 vhutchison
    February 16, 2009

    James F: These things are never over until the Lege adjourns sine die, and then they will likely be back next session. We know from last year, the bill can reappear in several ways.

    There is also still extant HB 1001 (‘Religiouis Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act’); the same bill with a different number passed last year and was vetoed by the Governor. This bill would allow religion into many aspects in public schools, especially in science classes. However, the Republican leader of the Senate was quoted in The Tulsa World newspaper that the bill would likely not be passsd. It is now LAW in the great state of Texas, known here as Baja Oklahoma and other names not to be mentioned (just for fun, I like my friends in Texas!).

  6. #6 Wes
    February 16, 2009

    Why is Oklahoma so windy?

    ‘Cause Texas sucks and Kansas blows. 😛

    Seriously, though, it’s good to see this bill die. And it’s especially nice to see some bi-partisan opposition to it. So long as the Republicans don’t wank each other off, these kinds of bills don’t stand a chance. Seeing Republicans (such as Halligan) stand up for good science is very refreshing.

    Oklahoma seems to dodge this bullet each year. I worry about the day when one of these lunatic creationist scams actually passes somewhere in this state, followed by the inevitable lawsuits, and we gain the dubious honor of being named in the same breath as Dayton, TN, Dover, PA, Cobb County, GA, and the whole state of Louisiana. 🙁

  7. #7 James F
    February 16, 2009

    Thanks, Vic, keep us posted!

    I’m not particularly worried about the New Mexico bill, and a commenter at Pharyngula said she’d bet money that the Iowa bill never gets out of committee. I’m more concerned about Texas and Alabama. If Florida actually pushes an intelligent design bill, I would almost welcome it as a chance to expose the true intentions of the S&W and academic fraud bills.

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