Mar. 30, 2005 – A bill that would give legal recourse to Florida college students who feel their own philosophical beliefs and scientific ideas are discriminated against in the classroom passed the first of a gauntlet of committee hearings by Republican state representatives on Tuesday.
Sponsored by Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), HB 837 was voted through the Florida House Choice and Innovation Committee by an eight to two vote. Baxleyâ€™s efforts come at a time when campuses and professors in other states have been under increased scrutiny from conservative legislators and right wing groups for either teaching controversial topics or failing to sufficiently embrace a conservative worldview in a classroom setting.
In January, the Columbus Dispatch reported that a state senator, upset over the make-up of "80 percent or so" of college professors who "are Democrats, liberals or socialists or card-carrying Communists," submitted a bill that would effectively regulate class reading lists and serve to "monitor classrooms" to make sure viewpoints that dissent from a professorâ€™s are featured as well.