California has become the latest state to pass legislation that would penalize schools for banning books, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1078, which was passed by the state assembly and state senate earlier this month. The law prohibits “the governing board of a school district, a county board of education, or the governing body of a charter school from refusing to approve or prohibiting the use of any textbook, instructional material, or other curriculum or any book or other resource in a school library” because it discusses the contributions of people of color or LGBTQ+ people.
School boards that run afoul of the new law will be subject to fines, Politico reports.
On X, formerly known as Twitter, Newsom posted a video of himself signing the law.
California is banning book bans and textbook censorship in our schools.— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) September 26, 2023
In partnership with @AsmCoreyJackson and @TonyThurmond, we’re cementing CA's role as the true freedom state: a place where families—not political fanatics—have the freedom to decide what’s right. pic.twitter.com/0br2MQN2rm
“Remarkable that we’re living in a country right now in this banning binge, this cultural purge that we’re experiencing all throughout America, and now increasingly here in the state of California, where we have school districts banning books, banning free speech, criminalizing librarians and teachers,” Newsom said. “We want to do more than just push back rhetorically against that, and that’s what this legislation provides.”
The California law comes more than three months after Illinois passed a similar law, under which public libraries would lose state funding if they ban books for “partisan or doctrinal” reasons.
Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.