Republican Taliban Alert — May 2, 2022

Tennessee Does Its Part In National School Censorship Crusade — Dr, Zoome, Wonkette April 29, 2022

The Tennessee General Assembly passed an exciting new school censorship bill Wednesday that will give a politically appointed commission the power to decide what books are allowed in every school library in the state. No more worries about local control, because the commission will now be able to dictate what kids all over the state can read. And to sweeten the deal, the bill’s House sponsor, state Rep. Jerry Sexton (R), said that if it were up to him, any books the commission didn’t approve would be burned. Sadly for the more censorious culture warriors in the Lege, actually putting books to the torch didn’t make it into the law. There’s always next year! 

We also feel compelled to point out that Rep. Sexton represents a place called “Bean Station,” which frankly sounds a little too risqué for the good God-fearing people of Tennessee. Wouldn’t want the ladyfolk to get ideas. 

As the Tennessean reports, the bill, with the actual we’re-not-making-this-up bill number HB 2666,had earlier passed in the state Senate as a far less horrifying plan to 

add members to the state’s textbook commission and task the commission with providing guidance for schools when reviewing materials to ensure they are “appropriate for the age and maturity levels” of students.

We sure love it when promoters of moral panic use the Number of the Beast in their culture war bills. Idaho legislators, you’ll recall, set out to jail librarians with HB 666 earlier this year, although the proposal died in the state Senate.

But merely providing guidance and creating general standards was apparently far too liberal and wimpy for Sexton. First, he added an amendment that would have required the commission to issue a list of “approved” instructional materials that could be used in Tennessee schools, thus making sure no teacher could ever pollute kids’ minds with anything that hadn’t been vetted at the state level. Flowers, by state decree, would be red, and teachers would damn sure color only within the lines. 

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