Kentucky legislature moves closer to codifying process for parents to challenge 'harmful' books
Parents could submit requests to ban certain classroom materials to school principals under a bill making its way through the General Assembly.
Should Senate Bill 5 become law, school districts would have a set process for parents to challenge the inclusion of books and other classroom materials they believe to be obscene or harmful to minors. The review would go all the way up to local school boards if the complaint isn't resolved at the individual school level.
Rep. Lisa Willner, a Louisville Democrat, worried the bill has more to do with larger "culture war" issues than anything happening in the commonwealth.
"I'm really struck that this doesn't seem to be coming from a real incident or something local that's happened in your community or even in our state, that this seems to be part of a national conversation that has been divisive," she said.
Sponsor, Republican Sen. Jason Howell, responded that he believes it already is an issue, though he did not cite a specific example.
"Some of this stuff is already here and is in play" the lawmaker replied. "And whether it is or isn't, sometimes the responsible process for legislation is to be proactive rather than reaction."
Books that could be challenged include those that present "in an obscene manner" naked images of men or women's genitals, explicit sexual descriptions, materials that appeal to the prurient interest in sex, or are "offensive to prevailing standards regarding what is suitable to minors."
The bill has already cleared the Senate is now eligible for a vote on the House floor.