By Barbara Forrest

SB 733, the “LA Science Education Act,” is a stealth creationism bill. Introduced by Louisiana Sen. Ben Nevers on behalf of the LA Family Forum (LFF—the LA affiliate of Focus on the Family), it is the direct descendant of SB 561, the “LA Academic Freedom Act.” SB 561’s twin in the LA House of Representatives was HB 1168. SB 733 was passed in the LA Senate on April 17, 2008, and in the House Education Committee on May 21 as a compromise bill. SB 733 is being promoted by the Discovery Institute (the Seattle headquarters of the intelligent design (ID) creationism movement) and the LFF as part of the Discovery Institute’s coordination of the introduction of academic freedom bills in six states: Florida, Alabama, Missouri, Michigan, South Carolina, and Louisiana.

Such academic freedom bills represent the Discovery Institute’s newest tactic to promote ID following the defeat of pro-ID forces in the first ID legal case, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005). The Discovery Institute sent two of its representatives to the May 21, 2008, LA House Education Committee hearing: Casey Luskin, a DI staffer, and Dr. Caroline Crocker, executive director of the IDEA (Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness) Center. Dr. Crocker testified in favor of SB 733.

The bill will be debated in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, June 11, after which it must return to the Senate for another vote because of an amendment added by the the House committee. If the bill passes both houses, it will then be sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal. If the governor signs the bill, Louisiana will become the first state to pass a creationist academic freedom bill. The Florida, Alabama, and Missouri bills died without passage.

Here is an analysis (updated: June 5, 2008; pdf) of the bill written by Barbara Forrest, an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the Kitzmiller trial.

To contact members of the House of Representatives, go here. To contact members of the Senate, go here.