Assigned to ED FOR COMMITTEE

 


 

 

 


ARIZONA STATE SENATE

Fifty-Sixth Legislature, First Regular Session

 

FACT SHEET FOR S.B. 1700

 

schools; school libraries; books; prohibition

Purpose

Requires the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to maintain a list of books that public educational institutions may not use or make available to students, including books that are lewd or sexual, promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns or groom children into normalizing pedophilia. Grants parents the right to request removal of school district (district) or charter school library or classroom materials, extends public review periods for library materials and district textbooks and removes exceptions from district curriculum approval and school library access requirements.

Background

A district governing board (governing board) must approve the basic textbooks or, if a course does not use a textbook, the supplemental books used for common school and high school courses of study. The governing board must make available a copy of each textbook being considered for selection at the district office for 60 days for public review. For high school textbooks, the governing board must also provide information on the proposed textbooks on the district website and provide opportunity for public comment for at least 60 days (A.R.S.
15-721 and 15-722).

A governing board or charter school governing body (governing body) must adopt procedures for a parent to access school library collections and a list of materials their children borrowed. Each district, district school, charter school and charter school site must make available, for at least 60 days after purchase, a list of library books and materials purchased after January 1, 2023. District or charter school sites without a full-time library media specialist or equivalent position and districts that have agreements for libraries with other entities are exempt from the parental access and posting requirements (A.R.S. 15-102; 15-189.07; 15-721; and 15-722).

The parent of a student in a public educational institution has the right to review learning materials and activities in advance and may withdraw the student from a class or program using learning material, or from an activity, to which the parent objects on the basis that it is harmful and request an alternative assignment. A charter school may require parents, as a condition of student enrollment, to waive the right to object to learning materials or activities if the school provides a complete list of books and materials before the student enrolls. Objects to any learning material or activity on the basis that the material or activity is harmful means objecting to the material or activity because of sexual content, violent content or profane or vulgar language (A.R.S. 15-113).

There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.

Provisions

Prohibited Books List

1.   Requires ADE to establish rules and procedures for establishing and maintaining a list of books that public educational institutions in Arizona may not use or make available to students, including procedures for parents to submit books to be included on the list.

2.   Authorizes a parent to submit, to ADE for inclusion on the prohibited list, a book the parent finds to be lewd or sexual in nature, promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns or groom children into normalizing pedophilia.

3.   Requires ADE to review each parent submission and basis for a parent's findings and, if ADE agrees with the findings, add the book to the prohibited books list.

4.   Directs ADE to post the prohibited books list on its website.

5.   Defines book, for the purposes of the prohibited books list, to include a textbook, a library book and any other material made available to students in an electronic or print format.

Parental Objections

6.   Grants, to a parent who objects to a book that is available to students in the library or that will be used for classroom instruction, the right to request that the public educational institution remove the book from the school library or classroom.

7.   Allows a charter school to require that a parent's request to remove a book from a library or classroom be made in writing.

8.   Authorizes a parent to object to a book or material during the public review period required:

a)   before a governing board approves district high school textbooks; and

b)   for district and district school library materials.

9.   Allows a parent who objects to a charter school's library book or material during the public review period to request that the charter school not make the book or material available to students.

10.  Directs a parent to submit, to the ADE for inclusion on the prohibited book list, a book that the parent objects to because the parent finds the book to be:

a)   lewd or sexual in nature;

b)   promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns; or

c)   groom children into normalizing pedophilia.

11.  Directs a parent submitting a book to ADE for the prohibited book list to submit the basis for the finding that the book meets one of the outlined criteria.

12.  Includes, in the rights that a parent may learn about through procedures in a district's parental involvement policy, the right to review and request the removal of a book that is available to students in the library or that will be used for classroom instruction.

Learning Materials and Library Materials

13.  Requires a governing board to exclude from schools, including school libraries, all books, publications, papers or audiovisual materials that are lewd or sexual in nature, promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns or groom children into normalizing pedophilia.

14.  Removes the authorization for a district common school or high school teacher of a course that also includes a basic textbook to use, at any time during the school year, supplemental books that:

a)   have not been approved by the governing board at the time of course approval; and

b)   are brought to the governing board's attention for ratification during the school year in which they are added.

15.  Extends, from 60 days to 120 days, the time period that:

a)   a governing board, before selecting or approving textbooks, must make a copy of each textbook being considered available for public review;

b)   a governing board must provide for public comment before approving high school basic textbooks; and

c)   a district, district school, charter school and charter school site must list library materials purchased after January 1, 2023, on its website for public review.

16.  Requires the library materials public review period to occur before the materials are made available to students, rather than after the materials are purchased.

17.  Removes the exemptions of district schools or charter school sites without a full-time library media specialist and district libraries that have agreements with county free library districts, municipal libraries or other outlined entities from the following requirements:

a)   that a governing board or governing body must adopt procedures for parents to access the school's library collection and receive a list of materials their children borrowed from the library;

b)   to post a list of books and materials purchased for the school library for public review; and

c)   to notify parents of the dates for public review of purchased library books and materials.

Miscellaneous

18.  Makes technical and conforming changes.

19.  Becomes effective on the general effective date.

Prepared by Senate Research

February 13, 2023

LB/slp