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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

'Why would you pass a law that would invite a very expensive lawsuit?'



Groundhog2 We all knew, didn't we, that the ACLU was prepared to go to the mat if state lawmakers filed new legislation akin to last year's "academic freedom" bills. But since news dropped that state Sen. Steve Wise, R-Jacksonville, plans to do just that, we figured we'd dutifully play our Groundhog Day roles and call 'em up.

Here's what Larry Spalding, the ACLU's legislative staff counsel in Tallahassee, told the Gradebook: "I have no doubt we will oppose the bill very vigorously. And I also have no doubt that if the bill passes, the ACLU or some other group will challenge this bill. Like I said, we're not breaking new ground here." He referred to the Dover decision.

"I would hope that if they get this bill, that they have legal staff in the House and the Senate take a hard look at this and let the sponsors know what the legal position is … In tough economic times, why would you pass a law that would invite a very expensive lawsuit?"

Last year's bill missed by a hair, because the Senate and House versions couldn't be reconciled. This year, it appears Wise has lined up companion bills and that may mean "a bill that's very difficult to stop," Spalding said.

Hmm. We may be jumping way ahead -- because the actual bill isn't out there yet and everything depends on exactly what it says -- but could it be that this will all come down to Gov. Crist, whose views on teaching evolution are … what?

Ron Matus, State Education Reporter

(Image from Pennsylvania Game Commission)

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:14am]


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