The new chief of Arizona's Senate Education Committee has some beliefs that put her at odds with most science educators. Sylvia Allen, a Republican from Snowflake, has courted controversy over the last few years by declaring that the Earth is 6,000 years old during a hearing on mining rights and via a Facebook post suggesting she believes the conspiracy theory that the government is manipulating the weather with "chemtrails" sprayed from aircraft, 12 News reports. She has been appointed to manage a committee that decides the future of education-related legislation, reports the Arizona Republic, which notes that Allen graduated from high school but did not go to college.
Allen made headlines earlier this year when she suggested bringing in a law to make church attendance mandatory, but state lawmakers from both parties say she's a capable legislator and they expect her to do a good job with the education committee. Her beliefs probably won't be an issue, Democratic Sen. Steve Farley tells the Republic. "She's made some interesting comments to the public, but it's not like she's going to be teaching," he says. "We have accredited teachers for that." (Last year, Pope Francis told creationists that they shouldn't think of God as "a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything.")