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Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause, chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

  • The move comes just months after Texas passed legislation curtailing the ways Texas teachers can discuss racism in both current events and throughout U.S. history.

The big picture: Krause included a 16-page list of roughly 850 targetted books, many dealing with topics such as racism, abortion and homosexuality, the Texas Tribune first reported.

  • The letter asks school districts to detail how many copies of each book on the list they have and where they're located, how much money they spent on the books, and to identify other books or content they have dealing with the aforementioned themes.
  • Schools have until Nov. 12 to respond, the letter states, without specifying what the consequences of possessing the books will be.

Of note: Texas state Rep. Victoria Neave (D), vice chair of the investigating committee, told Dallas Morning News that the committee did not take a vote on the matter, which she deemed "politically motivated to support their own campaigns.”

Our thought bubble, from Axios' Asher Price: Emboldened by a new law limiting what Texas public school teachers can teach on race, Texas' most conservative lawmakers are now trying to whittle down the narratives students learn in the classroom.

Texas State Teachers Association President Ovidia Molina issued a statement Tuesday lambasting the request as "disturbing and political overreach," adding that it amounted to a "witch hunt."

  • "This is an obvious attack on diversity and an attempt to score political points at the expense of our children’s education," Molina added.

A spokesperson for Austin Independent School District confirmed to Axios that they had received a copy of Krause's letter, adding: "Our legal team is reviewing and working on a response."

  • A spokesperson for Lake Travis Independent School District said the "superintendent and general counsel are reviewing the inquiry and discussing next steps."

Go deeper

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and have "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

University of Texas ranks among top colleges for business founders

Students walk past the University of Texas' iconic tower. Photo: AP Photo/Eric Gay

Financial database PitchBook released its annual list of the top 50 colleges for business founders last week, and the University of Texas sits in spot 9.

Why it matters: Good founder schools attract would-be entrepreneurs who create new companies that add to Austin's startup community.

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."