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Florida lawmakers pass bill to create approval process for books

HB 1467 creates an approval process for all school literature, allowing books to be banned on a district level.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla — On Thursday, the Florida House and Senate passed House Bill 1467. The legislation would require Florida public schools to list all instructional material and books in a public online database.

The bill would also mandate a review process for all school reading materials, including the libraries. Public hearings would need to be held with an opportunity for public comment over reading materials in question.

Several Senate Democrats took the floor during the bill's debate to express their concerns over the implications the legislation could have. 

"Why are we doing this," questioned Sen. Lauren Book. "In the age of the internet, where endless information is quite literally one keystroke, one click away, do we really want to join the likes of dictators across the world and allow the banning and possibly burning of books?"

Republican Sen. Joe Gruters responded to comments like Book's and others made of a similar thought. 

"That is simply not what this bill does," Gruters said. "This bill ensures the process for selecting, adapting, and using instructional materials is completely transparent."

Democratic Sen. Tina Scott Polsky drew attention to other recent legislation that has impacted teachers and what is and isn't allowed to be said and taught in the classrooms. 

"This is the third bill in a row, we're not trusting teachers," Scott Polsky said. "We're not trusting school districts. We're not trusting boards to do the right thing by our children. And I think we need to stop."

HB 1467 also aims to create a 12-year term limit for school board members. 

The Florida House gave final approval Thursday evening. The bill will be sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis to be vetoed or signed into law.

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