State Senator Josh Brecheen Declares an Emergency…
2:00 AM EST on January 25, 2012
Patrick has gone into great detail regarding State Senator Josh Brecheen's disdain for science. The senator, pictured above and to the left, is taking another stab at undermining the study of science by introducing State Bill 1742. The bill not only establishes that Brecheen is declaring a war on evolution, but that Brecheen is also a terrible bill writer.
Esentially, the bill sounds innocuous. According to the bill's introductory section, it simply provides assistance to teachers, promotes critical thinking, allows supplementary text, and does not promote a particular belief system. Wow, totally reasonable, right? Then, he declares an emergency.
Let's look at the bill a little closer...
Section 1: Simply establishes that the name of the bill is "Oklahoma Science Education Act". Not really a lot there, we'll move on.
Section 2: This is where it starts to get good. Actual text from the bill:
This act is modeled on a Louisiana law which has not been invalidated by the highest court of the State of Louisiana or a federal district court.
That's high praise of his idea. It is modeled after a bill that the courts have so far declined to rule unconstitutional. What it also says is that his bill is asking for legal challenges--the bill states that similar laws have already been attacked.
Here is my question: Why even insert that language into the bill? It's one thing to sell the bill this way during debate or through public relations leading up to such a time, but he intends to add that passage to state law books. Who gives a crap where the idea came from, and why is it important to indoctrinate that the bill has survived judicial review in another state?
Further on in section 2, Brecheen goes on to say what the bill won't do. Namely, it "does not propose that schools teach creationism or intelligent design, rather, it is the intent to foster an environment of critical thinking in schools including a scientific critique of the theory of evolution." Missing in that paragraph is the implied *wink, wink*. More on that as we go on.
The meat of the bill is contained in this section, and by meat, I mean completely vague guidance. Brecheen instructs to Board of Education (which was completely gutted by the legislature last year in order for Emporer of Education Janet Barresi to take control) to do whatever they Gary-England-damn-well-please. There is no guidance given to the Board except that they assist teachers in allowing "open and objective discussion of scientific theories including, but not limited to, evolution, the origin of life, global warming, and human cloning." Of course, he is not saying that creationism has to be taught, but if the Board so chooses to say that it does, well, this bill gives them that latitude.
The bill will take effect July 1, 2012. Easy enough.
It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, AN EMERGENCY IS HEARBY DECLARED TO EXIST, by reason whereof this act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.
Despite the fact that the bill spends more time saying what it does not do than what it does do, Brecheen thinks it is of utmost importance that the sweeping changes he does not outline go into effect as soon as possible, even though he gave a whole section to when the bill would take effect.
This is completely random. It makes me wonder how Senator Brecheen ends his text messages. When he's running late, does he send his wife notes that say, "Meeting ran late. Will be home by 7. A state of emergency is declared, will be home ASAP." Maybe he has even created an acronym STOED to save key strokes.
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