By Daniel Stefanski |
The Arizona Legislature finished its work on an important piece of legislation to protect children from a leftist agenda in schools, but the bill faces a near-certain dismissal from Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs.
Last month, both the Arizona House and Senate voted to approve SB 1305, sponsored by Senator J.D. Mesnard, which deals with prohibited instruction in schools. According to the purpose of the legislation provided by the State Senate, SB 1305 “prohibits a public school, school district or state agency that is involved with students or teachers of preschool or kindergarten programs of any of grades 1 through 12 (state agency), or an employee of a public school, school district or state agency, from providing instruction to students or employees that promotes or advocates for specified concepts relating to race and ethnicity.”
Like many bills in the Arizona Legislature this session, SB 1305 attracted partisan votes throughout the committee process and on the floors of both chambers. The vote in the Senate was 16-12 in support, with two members (Senators Gabaldon and Miranda) not voting. The vote in the House was 31-29 in favor.
After voting in favor of the bill in February, Representative Austin Smith wrote, “We shouldn’t teach kids in Arizona to hate their fellow man or America.”
On Monday, SB 1305 was transmitted to the Governor’s Office on the Ninth Floor of the Arizona Executive Tower. The bill sponsor, Senator Mesnard, released the following statement to accompany his bill’s recent clearance from the state legislature: “Teaching about historical movements, ideologies or instances of racial hatred and discrimination, including slavery and Jim Crow, are absolutely legitimate and sensible topics of study in the classroom. However, pushing a destructive and racist ideology has no place in our schools. More and more parents are expressing concern over this issue, and we must ensure we nip this in the bud now before the damage is done on our impressionable youth. My colleagues and I in the Senate are calling on Governor Hobbs to sign this commonsense legislation.”
Mesnard’s bill also “outlines procedures for complaints, enforcement and the imposition of civil penalties up to $5,000.”
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, provided the following quote to AZ Free News on his support of the bill: “All of my life I have believed that we are all individuals, brothers and sisters under the skin, and that what matters is what we know and can do, and not what race we were born into.”
Representatives from Stand for Children, Arizona School Administrators Association, Arizona Education Association, American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, Save Our Schools Arizona, Arizona School Boards Association, and the Children’s Action Alliance opposed this legislation during the legislative process.
Last month, Save Our Schools Arizona tweeted, “Today, the #AZLeg passed #SB1305, an anti-public school culture-war bill to ban teaching ‘controversial topics,’ drive further distrust of educators & impose $5,000 fines.”
After the bill was approved by the legislative bodies, Stand for Children Arizona tweeted, “If you support teachers and want AZ students to learn accurate history, SIGN OUR LETTER requesting a veto on this bill, and similar bills moving forward.”
The legislation now awaits its fate from Governor Hobbs, who is expected to veto the bill in the coming days.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.