- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana will continue to have an unconstitutional - and unenforceable - law on the books that requires teaching creationism in science classes.

The Senate Education Committee voted 4-2 Tuesday against repealing the law, which required public schools to give balanced treatment in science classes and textbooks to evolution and creationism. The law also prohibited teaching evolution as proven scientific fact.

Passed in 1981, the law called the Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science Act was found unconstitutional in 1987 by the Louisiana Supreme Court, so it can’t be applied in classrooms.

Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, was one of the two committee members who supported the repeal bill by Sen. Dan Claitor, saying all the bill does “is remove a dead piece of law.”

That didn’t persuade enough senators to support stripping it from the law books, however.

“It basically creates a situation where only the secular review of creation is taught,” said Sen. John Milkovich, a Keithville Democrat who was the most outspoken opponent of the repeal proposal.

Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, has tried and failed previously to persuade his colleagues to remove the unconstitutional law, saying lawmakers swore an oath to support the Louisiana Constitution.

“I’m not asking you to give up your belief in God. I’m not asking you to get in bed with the devil. I’m just asking you to uphold your oath,” Claitor said.

Voting for the repeal were Appel and Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, D-Lafayette. Voting against the bill were Milkovich and Sens. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton; Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe; and Mack “Bodi” White, R-Baton Rouge. Chairman Dan “Blade” Morrish, R-Jennings, didn’t vote.

Claitor has filed a package of eight bills seeking to remove old state laws deemed unconstitutional. Others have fared better than the creationism repeal.

For example, the full Senate has agreed to repeal a $1 cap on parking fines on public college campuses that can’t be enforced, and a Senate committee has backed the repeal of a law declared unconstitutional that allowed for warrantless searches by police of any person who entered a liquor store.



Senate Bill 156: www.legis.la.gov

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