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DeSantis Backs Down on Banning Books

In case you missed it, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) isn't running for president anymore, so he is trying to recover some of the red meat he tossed at his supporters earlier this year. In particular, when he was a candidate, he was a big supporter of banning woke books in school libraries. That turned out to be a logistical nightmare for Florida schools, as the law he signed allowed just about anyone to challenge any book at any school, and lots of people did. Even some conservatives now think the law went too far as it required books to be pulled within 5 days of being challenged, long before it was determined if they could be permanently banned under Florida law.

An enormous range of books were challenged, including classics like For Whom the Bell Tolls. According to the free-speech advocacy group PEN, some 1,406 books have been banned in Florida. Under a new law just signed by DeSantis, Florida residents who don't have a child in school will be limited to one challenge per month. It's not clear, though, why people with no skin in the game get any challenges. It could matter though. In Clay County, one person, a representative of a group called "No Left Turn in Education," was responsible for 94% of all challenges. The new law does not limit how many books a parent of a schoolchild may challenge.

Many people in Florida feel that the new law does not go nearly far enough to stop books from being banned just because one parent doesn't like them. One parent in Broward County objected to the Bible, since it has many passages dealing with sexuality. The challenge was defeated, however, and the Bible remains on the list of legal books in the county's schools. (V)

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