In this episode of The Weekly Gaucho I’ll cover HB2495, the house bill aimed at prohibiting public schools from referring students to or using sexually explicate material. We’ll look at the legislation itself, who’s behind it and what problem, if any, it’s trying to solve.
The original text of the bill includes homosexuality under its definition of sexual conduct, which is problematic in this context. While the word can be used to describe sexual conduct, it is far more commonly used to describe an individual just plain being gay. One main criticism of the bill is that the use of the word homosexuality in the context of HB2495 could easily result in a ban on any media in schools that simply feature a character who identifies as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Arizona State Representative Jake Hoffman is the main sponsor behind the bill. He assumed office in January of 2021 and has a couple of interesting points about his history in politics to date. He was a member of the republican group who named themselves state electors in December of 2020 and created a document to certify that former President Trump had won the election and electoral votes for Arizona. He’s also President and CEO of a Valley Forge, a marketing firm that was banned from Facebook for deceptive ad practices and creation of a troll farm. Both were related to the 2020 elections.
During research for this podcast, there weren’t any issues with sexually explicate materials being distributed in public schools found. As a result, this bill is more likely a political maneuver to create opportunity for discourse about sexual grooming children.
Thankfully, an updated version of the bill has removed the word homosexuality from the text altogether. It has also created provisions that exclude books that are classified as classical literature, early American literature or a required book for a course to obtain college credit. Although it removes some of the damage the original bill did, some still say the bill is too broad and will have unintended censorship consequences.
As of April 20th the bill is on hold and still going through the legislative process.