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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ind. Gov't. - "Social issues face GOP-controlled Indiana legislature"

Two stories this weekend:

Some quotes from Kevin Rader's WTHR 13 story, "Social issues face GOP-controlled Indiana legislature":

When Governor-elect Mike Pence takes the oath of office in January, he will have a Republican super majority in both houses of the Indiana legislature.

That has some people questioning what will happen with social issues like gay marriage and a woman's right to choose. * * *

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the issues will be presented when the 118th session of the Indiana General Assembly gavels in on January 4.

"There is no doubt. This will be my 14th General Assembly and they have been presented in every one of those sessions. They will be presented, I am sure, again," Bosma said.

A constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage has already passed out of one General Assembly and now must be passed by another in either 2013 or 2014 before it can be presented to Indiana voters on the ballot.

New Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) acknowledges Pence's conservative bent, but he hopes the Governor-elect will temper that and concentrate on kitchen table issues like jobs, the economy and education.

"It's all a matter of whether they want to pursue the things that divide people or do they want to pursue the things that bring us all together. I hope they do the former," Pelath said.

With super majorities in both the House and the Senate, Republicans may have to learn the most difficult lesson in politics - how to discipline themselves.

A lengthy column today in the Lafayette Journal-Courier, by David Bangert, is headed "The evolution of Gov. Pence starts here; another creation science bill looms: An old fight over science will get a new look in 2013." A sample:
Indiana will have another discussion in the 2013 General Assembly session about how evolution is taught in the state’s science classrooms.
Same issue, new approach

“We’re going to try something a little different this time,” state Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, said this week.

Kruse was behind last session’s Senate Bill 89. In its original form, the bill offered to give local school boards the option to “require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science.”

Though not all prone to focus on the merits of sticking with the scientific method in science classrooms, senators were moved to water down the bill largely because of the presumed price tag. Creation science — even offered as a school board choice rather than a state mandate — adds up to a losing church-and-state proposition in the high courts. Rulings have been clear, not to mention expensive: Teaching creation science and intelligent design in public schools amounts to pushing religion, not science. And that crosses the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

A compromised SB89 that made it through the state Senate allowed schools to add courses that looked at the origin of life, provided they included theories from multiple religions. Considering that school districts already could do that with their non-science elective courses, the Indiana House took a pass.

This year, Kruse said, he’ll carry a bill designed by the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based public policy think tank. According to its website, the Discovery Institute “seeks to counter the materialistic interpretation of science by demonstrating that life and the universe are the products of intelligent design and by challenging the materialistic conception of a self-existent, self-organizing universe and the Darwinian view that life developed through a blind and purposeless process.”

More from the story:
Louisiana has had a similar law since 2008. Tennessee followed suit in 2012. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam declined to sign it, saying it would bring confusion instead of clarity, according to the Tennesseean news­paper in Nashville. Civil libertarians, the Tennessee Science Teachers Association and members of the National Academy of Sciences warned about what came to be called the “monkey bill,” named for the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial that went after a Tennessee teacher who dared to teach evolution against state laws at the time.

Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, told Nature magazine that the law was simply a “permission slip for teachers to bring creationism, climate-change denial and other non-science into science classrooms.”

The law took effect in April without the governor’s signature.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 11, 2012 08:20 PM
Posted to Indiana Government | Indiana Law