Florida book bans spark crackdown in conservative states
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sheds light on recent moves to ban or restrict books in Florida schools, actions that have inspired a wave of similar restrictions in conservative states across the country.
Book challenges are a central cultural issue for DeSantis, who announced Wednesday that he would seek the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election.
Last year, Florida passed laws that make it easier for parents to challenge books in school libraries that they believe are pornographic, inappropriately address racial issues or may be otherwise inappropriate.
DeSantis argues that the books are not banned, but rather organized in a manner “consistent with state standards.”
“No books have been banned in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said during his live statement on Wednesday.
Earlier in May, a group of writers and a major publishing company sued a Florida school district over new state laws, alleging that by removing books from shelves, the district was infringing on children’s rights. First Amendment students.
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Other states have followed Florida’s lead.
An Arkansas law, signed by Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and expected to take effect this summer, would allow more challenges and result in criminal penalties for librarians who knowingly give “harmful” materials to minors.
Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill in May that will require school libraries to publish a list of proposed titles and give community members a channel for complaints.
Republican Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a law requiring schools to remove all titles, except religious texts, which describe sexual acts.
Oklahoma and Texas have similar rules pending approval by Republican governors.
The American Library Association said 2022 saw a record 1,269 challenges for library books or resources, more than double the 729 challenges in 2021. Most challenged works were created by or about members of the LGBTQ community and people of color.
SEE MORE: Libraries give young people access to titles amid wave of book bans
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