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By Barbara Forrest

New Mexico’s stealth creationist bill, HB 302, which in many respects closely tracked the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA), has been tabled, meaning that it is dead for the current legislative session. The bill’s obituary was posted by the National Center for Science Education , and its demise was confirmed by a dedicated pro-science citizen in New Mexico who helped put it to sleep. This development should serve as an example to Louisiana legislators, who will have an opportunity in the upcoming regular session of the Louisiana legislature to send the LSEA to a similar fate by repealing it outright.

NCSE’s announcement of the tabling of HB 302 notes that it was a version of the “currently popular ‘academic freedom’ antievolution strategy,” which means that it was, like the LSEA, an offspring of the Discovery Institute’s deceptively named “Model Academic Freedom Statute on Evolution.” And of course, just as the LSEA was supported by a creationist group, the Louisiana Family Forum, the New Mexico bill was promoted by a similar group, the Intelligent Design Network of New Mexico. New Mexicans for Science and Reason has information about HB 302 here.

Of the various “academic freedom” bills introduced so far this year, the New Mexico bill is the first to fall. That leaves bills pending in Oklahoma (two bills there), Kentucky, Tennessee (two bills), and Missouri. So far, Louisiana is still the only state foolish enough to give such legislation the status of law. Let’s hope our legislature decides to restore some respect to the state when they get Zack Kopplin’s repeal bill, which will be introduced in the coming weeks.

Louisiana citizens should begin contacting their legislators now and ask them to support the bill. As soon as it is filed, specific information about it will be posted here.

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