A Tennessee anti-evolution bill has become law, though without the signature of the state's governor, reports The Tennessean. Evolution opponents having been pushing for bills to include "critical thinking skills," and this law reflects that current strategy, ScienceInsider adds. "It encourages students to question accepted scientific theories — listing as examples evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and cloning — and it protects teachers from punishment if they teach creationism," the Tennessean says. Similar bills proposed in other states also aim to protect teachers who teach the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories like evolution, Ars Technica adds.
Teachers, though, say they don't need that protection, ScienceInsider says, adding that educators and scientific societies, including ScienceInsider's publisher AAAS, asked Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto the bill.
While Haslam did not veto the bill, he also did not sign it, saying it would bring uncertainty to the classroom. He also said that his veto could easily be overridden. "The bill received strong bipartisan support, passing the House and Senate by a 3-to-1 margin," Haslam said, according to the Tennessean, "but good legislation should bring clarity and not confusion. My concern is that this bill has not met this objective."