The House of Representatives, in a virtually straight party-line vote, passed the Parents Bill of Rights bill on Friday. Democrats unanimously opposed the measure; they were joined by five Republicans: Andy Biggs (AZ), Ken Buck (CO), Matt Gaetz (FL), Mike Lawler (NY), and Matt Rosendale (MT).
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the bill fascist, stating on the House floor, “When we talk about progressive values, I can say what my progressive value is, and that is freedom over fascism.” She was echoed by New York Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, who snapped that the bill was “Orwellian to the core.”
But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy celebrated the victory, declaring, “The Republicans put out our commitment to America. In our commitment to America, we said we’re gonna have a Parents Bill of Rights. This is exactly what we passed on the floor today; we’re keeping our commitment to America. … Today was a win for every mother, every father, but most importantly, for every student in America. You have a Parents Bill of Rights now, but unfortunately, the Democrats are too extreme to believe that parents should have a say in their kids’ education.”
Promise made! Promise kept!@SpeakerMcCarthy: “Today was a win for every mother, every father, but most importantly, for every student in America. You have a Parents’ Bill of Rights now, but unfortunately the Democrats are too extreme to believe that parents should have a say.” pic.twitter.com/N8NhaHgp6W
— GOP (@GOP) March 24, 2023
“This bill is not complex or complicated,” stated Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA), who sponsored the bill. “Nor should it be partisan or polarizing, and contrary to what you may hear from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, it is not an attack on our hard-working teachers, who will always be the heroes in my eyes.”
“It is not an attempt to have Congress dictate their curriculum or determine the books in the library,” she continued. “Instead, this bill aims to bring more transparency and accountability to education, allowing parents to be informed and when they have questions and concerns to lawfully bring them to their local school boards.”
The bill states that parents should have the right to review, and make copies of, at no cost, the curriculum of their child’s school, which should be publicly available; the right to a list of the books and other reading materials available in the library of their child’s school; the right to inspect such books or other reading materials; and the right to know if a school employee or contractor acts to change a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name; or allow a child to change the child’s sex-based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms.
The bill also would give parents a right to know if their child’s school has athletic programs or activities that allow trans-identifying students to participate in a sport not consistent with their biological sex. It also would give parents the right to know if their child’s school allows a trans-identifying student access to a bathroom or changing room not consistent with their biological sex.
“Educators, policymakers, elected officials, Executive Branch officials and employees, and other stakeholders should never seek to use law enforcement to criminalize the lawfully expressed concerns of parents about their children’s education,” the bill adds.
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Because the Senate is controlled by Democrats, there is little chance the bill will be passed; House Democrats already nicknamed the bill the “Politics over Parents Act.”