Illinois Rep. Dan Caulkins says a Democrat-backed bill that seeks to defund public that ban books due to "partisan pressure" shows how "far-left groups" have taken over the political landscape in Illinois, while its supporters say banning books is a violation of the First Amendment.
Republican Lawmakers are standing against House Bill 2789, which passed the house March 22. The bill would require that, as a condition of qualifying for state grants, libraries must adopt a written policy prohibiting the practice of banning books.
"Banning books is the sort of behavior that was once, for good reason, associated with the worst, most repressive and repugnant authoritarian regimes of the mid-20th century and before," said the bill's lead sponsor Rep. Anne Stava-Murray in a story by WLS. "The fact that this is even up for discussion in America in the 21st century is disgusting. And yet, just last year in my district, that discussion was spurred on by a few radical parents and the Proud Boys hate group over a book called 'Gender Queer.'"
Republicans like Caulkins, however, say the bill is just as radical a move in the opposite direction by Democrats.
"I think this is another indication of just how much the far-left groups have taken over our political decisions in Illinois," Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. "These are the kinds of decisions that should be left to library boards. These radical left lawmakers are the same ones pushing pornographic material on our children and all the other depravity. I don’t know where it ends."
In a recent email sent to a Downers Grove 99 District parent, Supt. Dr. Hank Thiele affirmed his support of the "Gender Queer" graphic novel, which has illustrations of gay sex, being available in the library at Downers Grove North and South High Schools, saying that the book is not, in his view, pornographic. The book was removed from the library shelves of Harlem Unit School District 122 based on a school board vote, with Lynette Hoffman describing the art novel to WIFR as “porn."
HB2789 would effectively prevent school boards from banning such books by threatening grant funding, but Caulkins said such decisions should be made locally.
"I think that’s a decision for the school and library boards," he said. "I think the word ban is a buzz word these radicals use to get their way. These books aren’t banned, there are just certain cultural and moral standards that different communities hold."
Caulkins added that the bill would essentially take control out of the hands of parents.
"They should have the ultimate say in what’s being offered to their children," he said.
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