FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2023
CONTACT: Emily Witt, [email protected]
AUSTIN, Texas — Governor Abbott today signed HB 900 into law.
The legislation requires all book vendors serving Texas public schools to give any book with references to gender identity, sexual orientation, or intimate relationships a rating of either “sexually relevant” or “sexually explicit.” Vendors cannot sell a book that “describes or portrays sexual conduct … in a patently offensive way,” to school districts. The bill’s language does not specify what is considered “patently offensive,” nor does it require book ratings to be standardized.
HB 900 will go into effect on September 1.
Texas Freedom Network Executive Director Val Benavidez (she/her) issued the following response:
“We all want our kids to be accepted, embraced, and able to see themselves and their families in public school curriculums and books. We know that this legislation directly targets the stories of LGBTQIA+ students and families at a time when school boards across Texas have already banned more books representing our diverse communities than any other state. Still, Governor Abbott and his radical right-wing allies continue to discriminate against Texans and turn back the clock on our kids.
“HB 900 restricts our children’s ability to read freely by allowing politicians to interfere with our education system when parents already have a system that works to control what their children read in our schools. All the alarm bells should be going off when state leaders use their elected power to control our children’s ideas and erase the historical experiences of our communities. We denounce Abbott and his ultraconservative collaborators for their attacks on education, and call on all parents and guardians to speak up at school board meetings, get involved in local elections, and teach their children about civic engagement so we can ensure our schools can teach the truth.”