Monday, March 14, 2011

Woods: Is the Legislature Favoring Monkey Business over Job Creation?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM

If you thought you'd heard the last of intelligent design in the state legislature, you should cackle and swing from a palm frond. From Jeff Woods in the CP:

A bill by Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, requires public schools to “create an environment” in which teachers “respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues,” including evolution. It also orders administrators to “assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.”

Dunn insists he aims only to promote “critical thinking” in schools about the origins of life. But opponents say the bill is clearly intended to open the door to teaching intelligent design in public schools, and creationists admit they support the proposal. David Fowler, of the Rev. James Dobson’s Family Action Council, touted the bill in an opinion piece in the online publication The Chattanoogan.

“Certainly intelligent design theory is not without its critics, and if the subject is going to be taught, then discussion of those criticisms is appropriate,” Fowler wrote. “But it is also appropriate that students understand that intelligent design is a theory that many scientists are beginning to consider and hold because of the weaknesses in the scientific evidence supporting evolution.”

Woods adds this to a handy tally of some of the stranger items under consideration in the Republican-controlled General Assembly this session:

Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, is calling for Tennessee to study establishing a monetary system of its own to be ready “in the event of hyperinflation, depression, or other economic calamity related to the breakdown of the Federal Reserve System, for which the state is not prepared …”

Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, thinks it’s a good idea to set up a committee of legislators to pick and choose which federal laws are constitutional and presumably therefore OK to follow.

In a bill spawned by the Obama “birther” conspiracy theory, Senate Judiciary Committee chair Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, wants to force candidates on Tennessee’s ballot to prove U.S. citizenship by producing their birth certificates.

Read the whole piece for a great exchange with Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who essentially blames the Capitol Hill press corps for noticing the existence of these items of legislative interest.

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