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Arizona's Book Banning Bill

Written By:

Kaitlin Nguyen

Publishing Date:

July 16, 2023

Amid the recent rising trend of school book bans and the growing discussion around transgender issues, comes another such piece of legislation presented to the 56th legislature in the State of Arizona - SB 1700 introduced by Senator Wadsack and Representatives Jones and McGarr. This bill proposes a system to allow parents to remove books they deem inappropriate. Senate Bill 1700 passed the Arizona Senate on March 20, 2023 and was introduced to the House on March 21, 2023 for reading. 

The Arizona Revised Statutes allows parents to withdraw their children from school assignments or activities for educational materials objectionable to the parent. SB 1700 takes it a step further by amending sections 15-102, 15-113, 15-189.07, Title 15 Ch. 2, Art. 2 to add 15-249.01, 15-341, 15-362, 15-721 and 15-722 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Many of these proposed amendments concern and facilitate the ability of parents to review and request the removal of books that they deem “lewd or sexual in nature, that promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns or that groom children into normalizing pedophilia” from libaries available to students and from classroom instruction. Section 2, Section 15-113, Section 3, 15-189.07, and Section 4, 15-249.01 is amended so that parents requesting the removal of a book found “to be lewd or sexual in nature, to promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns or to groom children into normalizing pedophilia” shall submit the book and their basis for objection to the Department of Education, where the Department of Education will establish, maintain, and add on to, a list of books prohibited from use and availability to students in Arizona.

Supporters of the bill believe that SB 1700 will expand and strengthen parental rights, and protect children from inappropriate material and material discussing gender fluidity and sexuality. According to Wadsack, “This puts the power back into the hands of the parent, it’s not a book banning bill. We’re not setting books on fire, but what it does is it gives the parents some recourse, some ability to say, hey, I don’t approve of this book.. Then take it to the Department of Education and say, what do you guys plan to do about this and start the process of determining whether or not it is a book that is legitimately appropriate, especially for the age groups that they’re being introduced to.” However, critics of the bill include LGBTQ+ advocates that say that such bills are anti-LGBTQ+, with book bans being used to hide and shame LGBTQ+ youth, and that the bill falsely equates discussion on gender fluidity and pronouns with grooming and pedophilia. Librarians, educators, and other advocates likewise have challenged such book bans as censorship that undermines acceptance of and serves to isolate LGBTQ+ students and students of color. 

SB 1700 follows a alarming trend of book bans and challenges from states including Florida, Texas, and North Dakota, that have introduced bills to restrict material in textbooks and school curriculums that discuss LGBTQ+ issues and Black history.  

SB 1700 will limit school curriculums in Arizona and Arizona youth’s access to books and materials, particularly by providing the mechanism for which parents can remove access to material they see as lewd or mentioning of gender sexuality. This bill is part of a growing and concerning trend to prohibit LGBTQ+ material in libraries and classrooms in the U.S. Young people can get involved in this discussion through participation at their local school board, by contacting legislators, or by organizing through their communities. 


Arizona SB1700: 2023: Fifty-sixth legislature 1st regular. LegiScan. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Miranda, E. (2023, March 11). Arizona Senate bill aims to prohibit certain books and material in

schools. 13 News. Retrieved from

Rummler, O. (2023, February 23). Book bans internalize 'shame' for young LGBTQ+ people,

advocates say. here's how they're pushing back. The 19th. Retrieved from

SB 1700. SB1700 - 561R - I ver. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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