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Summary of Senate Bill 1210 and House Bill 989

Senate Bill 1210 has recently passed through both the Education and Appropriations Committees and will most likely be headed for a vote this session. It has a companion bill in the House, HB 989. Both of these bills address the adoption and monitoring of materials available to students in Florida’s public schools. They are quite similar in content and intent.

 

SB 1210 was introduced on February 20 by Tom Lee (R-Brandon). It soared unanimously through both committees. In summary, the bill would mandate:

1-    A revision of the term “adequate instructional materials.”

2-    A requirement that School Boards establish a formal process by which parents in a district can object to books and materials available to students. This specifically mentions the ability of parents to object on the basis of alleged “pornography” or “obscenity” as defined in Florida Statute 847.012. This definition includes “deviate sexual intercourse” (including sex between two men and sex outside of marriage) as well as sexual excitement and sexual intercourse. “Any material used in a classroom, made available in a library, or…on a reading list” including conduct detailed in FS 847.012 “is not suited to student needs.”

3-    A requirement that districts create a process to include community members in the adoption of instructional materials. And establishes open forums for hearings on the adoption process. Districts would also be required to include online access to materials being considered for adoption.

4-     A mandate requiring that when materials are adopted, reviewers not recommend materials unfairly representing people based on their “race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, disability, socioeconomic status, or occupation.” Notably absent is improper representation of the LGBT community.

5-    That if one citizen’s objection to an instructional material (or class novel/ school media center book) is approved by the local school board, that book would become banned in all public schools in the district.

 

The House Bill contains almost the same content as SB1210, but additionally specifies that no district money be used to purchase any text containing materials containing any pornographic or obscene content as described in FS 847.012. This bill is in the Appropriations Committee as of today (4/27/17).

 

There is no mention of any monitoring of any materials used in publicly-funded charter schools.

Full text of SB1210 can be found by clicking here.

 

Researched by SemDem’s writer  Keri Dries, 27 April, 2017.

Bill passed the Senate and was sent to the Governor 5 May 2017.

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