Gov. Haslam allows 'evolution' bill to become law without his signature

photo Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

Arkansas-Tennessee Live Blog

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today allowed a controversial bill allowing teachers to discuss the "weaknesses" of evolution and other scientific theories to become law without his signature.

It is the first time Haslam, a Republican, has refused to sign a bill passed by the GOP-led General Assembly.

The legislation has been derided by critics nationwide as a modern-day "monkey bill," a reference to a 1920s Tennessee law that outlawed the teaching of evolution and spurred the arrest and trial of Dayton, Tenn., teacher John Scopes in the infamous 1925 "Monkey Trial."

"I have reviewed the final language of HB 368/SB 893 and assessed the legislation's impact," Haslam said in a statement.