Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) on Thursday introduced an amendment to keep the federal government from prohibiting the use of terms related to climate science, taking a subtle hit at the Florida government’s alleged ban on employees using terms like “climate change.”
“We have all read news reports — at the state level, at the local level, maybe even at the federal level — that indeed some folks are trying to muzzle scientists from speaking about the science involving the oceans, the atmosphere, climate, and the weather,” Nelson said in a floor speech introducing the amendment, as highlighted by National Journal.
The amendment to the Senate budget, which was ultimately ruled out of order, would have prohibited “censorship of federal agencies and federal employees from speaking in scientific terms about the oceans, the weather, the atmospheres and the climate,” Nelson said.
During his floor speech, Nelson wondered how people would react if the government banned other terms, in addition to “climate change.”
“Can you imagine if we were going to muzzle researchers at the National Institute of Health and censor them, saying they couldn’t use medical terms like ‘asthma,’ ‘cancer’? What if that was off limits? That’s not even a question we would consider,” he said.
Despite reports that Florida government employees are not allowed to used the terms “climate change” and “global warming,” the Florida government has denied that any such official ban exists.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has not acknowledged that human activity has contributed to climate change. When asked about climate change last year, he said he’s “not a scientist.”
Amid reports on the supposed ban, South Miami Vice Mayor Walter Harris is pushing for the southern part of the state to secede from Florida over the state’s inaction on climate change.
“You’ve got a governor who refuses to even use the term ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change,’ much less rising sea levels,” Harris said about the state’s failure to address global warming.
Watch Nelson’s floor speech: