Haslam Likely to Decide Today on Evolution Bill

By reports, and wire | News Sentinel, April 10, 2012 | Go to article overview

Haslam Likely to Decide Today on Evolution Bill


reports, and wire, News Sentinel


NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday it would probably be close to the signing deadline before he decided whether to sign a bill to protect teachers who allow students to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global warming.

The deadline is today. The Republican governor can also veto the measure or let it become law without his signature. He has said he would probably sign it.

Last week, Haslam was handed a petition with more than 3,000 signatures urging him to veto the legislation, which encourages critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique "scientific weaknesses." It passed the Senate 24-8 last month and 70-23 in the House last year.

Haslam said the petition had an impact, but he also noted the support for the bill in the Legislature.

"It passed 3-to-1 in the House and the Senate, so you take that into account, as well," he said.

'Kelsey Smith Act': The House sent to Haslam on Monday night legislation that would make Tennessee the sixth state to adopt a "Kelsey Smith Act," named after an 18-year-old Kansas woman abducted and murdered in 2007.

The bill - SB2413 - requires wireless telecommunications providers to provide law enforcement officers with information on the location of a cell phone in "emergency situations."

Rep Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, sponsored the legislation with Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge. Matlock told colleagues that, had the law been in place in Kansas at the time of Smith's abduction, it would have at least meant recovery of her body days earlier than was the case.

Greg and Missey Smith, parents of the slain teen and creators of the Kelsey Smith Foundation in their daughter's honor, were in the audience when the House voted unanimously for passage of the bill. The Senate had approved the measure earlier, also unanimously.

Horse slaughter: A bill designed to encourage location of a horse slaughter facility in Tennessee, scheduled for a Monday night House floor vote, was postponed for a week by sponsor Rep. …

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