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House to debate “Don’t Say Gay” expansion bill today

The Alabama House will debate whether to extend prohibitions through to the end of high school.

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It’s already unlawful for educators to give instruction or lead classroom discussions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity through fifth grade. The Alabama House of Representatives today will debate whether to extend that prohibition through to the end of high school.

Rep. Mack Butler, R-Rainbow City, is carrying the bill, HB130, after workshopping it with Moms for Liberty.

A committee also added an amendment to the bill that would prevent students from wearing flags or insignias representing the banned topic.

“Parents have lost a lot of say in education; Covid brought a lot of that stuff back front and center,” Butler told APR when he filed the bill. “I just want to give breath and life to the parents’ wishes. Just like with books in the library—nobody wants to ban any books. But your 5-year-old can’t go to R-rated or X-rated movies. This puts the adults back in charge.”

During a committee meeting on the bill, Butler said he thought it could “purify the schools a bit,” but apologized for the wording after Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, questioned the language.

Butler has also made it clear that he would support further amendment of the bill to go beyond public schools and apply to any school receiving public funds through the new CHOOSE Act.

House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, had asked whether private schools would be held just as accountable to the bill in an attempt to spark thought about his perceived flaws with the bill.

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“That would be a friendly amendment,” Butler replied. Daniels said he has no interest in offering such an amendment because he fundamentally disagrees with the bill.

But Butler said he would be interested in working to bring such an amendment to the bill on the floor, which could come up during discussion on the bill today.

The bill would require a minimum of two legislative days to pass the full Legislature. Seven legislative days remain in the session.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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