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For Darwin

Representative Jim Himes (D-Conn.) has introduced legislation to commemorate the birthday of Charles Darwin, the Associated Press reports. In the past, former New Jersey Rep. Rush Holt, now the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, had introduced similar bills, and Himes has now taken up the mantle, it adds.

"I represent one of the most educated districts in the country. And so, I think my constituents expect this of me," Himes tells the AP.

The bill comes as some US states weigh other legislation that promotes skepticism of scientific issues like climate change and evolution, the AP adds. For instance, a bill introduced in Oklahoma — for what the Huffington Post says is the seventh year running — calls for teachers to be allowed to teach the "strengths and weaknesses" of controversial scientific topics. While no particular topics are highlighted, the National Center for Science Education says that the bill sponsor, Republican Josh Brecheen, has previously targeted evolution.

The AP notes that the federal legislation to commemorate Darwin is a long shot, not only because of such ideological differences, but also because Darwin was British.

"Of course, the Darwin Day legislation is more symbolic than practical, but there's an important lesson there that public issues should be informed by the best publicly available scientific evidence," Holt tells the AP.