Governor Says He'll Sign "Monkey" Bill

Apr 4, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Almost 90 years after the Scopes "monkey trial," the state of Tennessee is close to enacting a law that critics say renews the attack on evolution.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said he’ll likely sign the bill, which would protect teachers who allow students to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global warming.

The Tennessee Chapter of the American Civil Liberties is just one of several organizations speaking out against the measure. Director Hedy Weinberg said Wednesday the bill would make Tennessee children less competitive on the world stage and leave Tennessee with a poor reputation internationally.

“Unfortunately, this legislation – were it to become law – would clearly challenge the ability to produce those competitive students, and at the same time would probably create a disadvantage when we compete with other states to bring new businesses to our state.”

Governor Haslam said the State Board of Education tells him the measure will not affect the state's current scientific curriculum.  Louisiana enacted a similar law in 2008.