Dec 29, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Judge temporarily blocks parts of Iowa law banning school books depicting a "sex act"

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) speaks at a rally on Nov. 6. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked parts of a law banning books from public school libraries that depict a "sex act."

The big picture: The bill, signed into law in May by Iowa's Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and set to take effect on Jan. 1, also barred educators from teaching "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" at or below sixth grade in public schools.

Details: U.S. District Judge Stephen Locher granted a preliminary injunction in a Friday court filing, saying the law is "incredibly broad" and "has resulted in the removal of hundreds of books from school libraries."

  • Locher said some of these banned works include "nonfiction history books, classic works of fiction" and Pulitzer Prize-winning contemporary novels.
  • He also said the banned works include "books that regularly appear on Advanced Placement exams, and even books designed to help students avoid being victimized by sexual assault."
  • Locher let stand part of the law that "requires school districts to notify a child's parents if the child requests an accommodation relating to gender identity, such as asking to use different pronouns than those in registration records."

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