A state Senate committee Wednesday rejected a bill that would repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.

The vote was 4-3 to shelve the measure, which is Senate Bill 74.

The tally marks the fifth consecutive year that the proposal has failed to emerge from its first test — the Senate Education Committee.

State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans and bill sponsor, told the committee that, despite previous setbacks, the law needs to be repealed and is an embarrassment to the state.

“Sometimes it is the right thing to do,” Peterson said of her repeated efforts.

In an unusual twist, the vote took place without public opponents of the legislation testifying.

Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, a new addition to the panel, moved to approve the measure after backers finished testifying.

Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, made a substitute motion to shelve the repeal bill.

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Voting to set aside Peterson’s proposal were state Sens. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie and chairman of the committee; Elbert Guillory, R-Opelousas; Bodi White, R-Central; and Walsworth.

Voting against the motion were state Sens. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte; Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge; and Morrell.

The law won approval in 2008.

Backers said it allows for freewheeling discussions on evolution and other topics by allowing the use of alternative materials in classrooms.

Repeal backers contend the law allows for the teaching of creationism — the view that life began about 6,000 years ago as described in the Bible’s book of Genesis.

Efforts to repeal the law have gotten eight committee “yes” votes in five years. The Education Committee has seven members.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell. For more coverage of Louisiana government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/