Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said Tuesday that he will not veto the so-called “monkey bill,” allowing it to become a state law. The bill, House Bill 368/Senate Bill 893, has caused a stir among scientists and civil libertarian groups, who petitioned the governor to veto the bill.
The bill states that schools and teachers, “shall endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions.” The bill further states that these questions are, “including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”
Groups such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State are concerned about HB368 because they feel that the bill will “encourage public school teachers to discuss the alleged ‘controversy’ over evolution and offer them legal protection if they teacher creationist concepts.”
Larisa DeSantis, a scientist at Vanderbilt University, told MSNBC that, “what it does is bring the political controversy into the classroom, where there is no scientific controversy.”
Governor Haslam has said that the bill “received strong bipartisan support, passing the House and Senate by a 3 to 1 margin.” He explains not signing the bill by saying that, “good legislation should bring about clarity and not confusion. My concern is that this bill has not met this objective.”
The bill is the first that the Governor has allowed to become a law without his signature. He explains that it is because he did not have enough votes to prevent the bill from becoming a law.
What do you think? Should Governor Haslam have allowed HB 368 to become a law?