Here’s a summary of last week’s church-state happenings in the states:
Colorado: The week started out well when the Colorado House Committee on Education rejected an anti-science bill, HB 1089, pushed by the Discovery Institute. Despite the close vote, Colorado avoided yet another attempt to teach creationism and the mythical controversy regarding evolution.
New Jersey: The Education Committee of the New Jersey General Assembly held a hearing on Monday on A2869, which would fund parochial schools with taxpayer money. AU’s Delaware Valley Chapter submitted testimony opposing the bill, and, though it passed committee, we will continue to monitor its progress.
New Hampshire: The Tuition Tax Credit repeal bill, SB 372, progressed last week, and the AU Chapter is continuing to support the repeal. Tuition Tax Credits are backdoor vouchers, funneling government money to religious and often unregulated private schools. These schools often aren’t held accountable for the academic standards or civil rights that protect its students. AU believes this government money would be better spent on public schools.
South Dakota: HB 1173, which would have given property tax credits to parents of private school students, was tabled on Tuesday. Not only would this bill put government funds toward religious schools, it also would give larger tax credits to the wealthy and nothing to parents who don’t own property. Because it both violates church-state separation and fails to help the less privileged, this bill was shut down.
Texas: Monday also had a surprising twist when the Senate Nominations Committee held a hearing considering Barbara Cargill’s reappointment as chair of the Texas State Board of Education. Cargill seemed to retract some anti-science views she held in the past regarding evolution, saying, “In biology class and in science class, I want to stick just to the science, like I did when I was teaching. The other (creationism) needs to be taught at church or in the home.” AU will watch as she proceeds through the nominative process and make sure she keeps her promises if confirmed.
With numerous problematic bills for church-state separation being introduced all over the country in the coming weeks, AU will continue to work to defend your religious liberty.