Gov. Bill Haslam had said previously he would probably sign the bill. On Tuesday, he disclosed he would let the law take effect without his signature, saying he believes the legislation doesnâ€™t change scientific standards currently taught in Tennesseeâ€™s public schools.
Tennessee was the state where the nationâ€™s first big legal battle over evolution was fought nearly 90 years ago.
Supporters say the legislation is intended to help students think critically.
Critics derided the legislation as the â€œmonkey billâ€ for attacking evolution. The state held the famous Scopes â€œmonkey trialâ€ in 1925 in Dayton, Tenn., and opponents of the legislation say evolution is still under attack in 2012.
School teacher John Scopes was convicted of violating a state statute by teaching evolution in biology class and fined $100. The Tennessee Supreme Court overturned it on a technicality a year later. In 1967, Tennesseeâ€™s anti-evolution law was revoked.
Haslam explained Tuesday why he was letting the bill become law without his signature. He said he doesnâ€™t believe the legislation changes scientific standards currently taught in Tennessee nor does it accomplish anything that isnâ€™t already acceptable in schools.
â€œThe bill received strong bipartisan support, passing the House and Senate … but good legislation should bring clarity and not confusion,â€ Haslam noted in a statement. â€œMy concern is that this bill has not met this objective.â€
Last week, the governor was handed a petition with more than 3,000 signatures urging him to veto the legislation. Some contend the measure could open the door for religious teaching in the classroom.
Meanwhile, backers said it would encourage critical thinking by protecting teachers from discipline if they help students critique â€œscientific weaknesses.â€
To read more, visit:Â http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/gov-bill-to-protect-teachers-who-let-students-criticize-evolution-to-become-law-in-tennessee/2012/04/10/gIQAje7I9S_story.html