Illinois to become the first state to ban book bans

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Illinois is on the verge of becoming the first state to ban the banning of books.

House Bill 2789 passed overwhelming in the state House and Senate. All that’s left is for Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker to put the new “Right to Read” law in the books with a signature, which is what he’s expected to do, according to Politico.

“In Illinois, we don’t hide from the truth,” Pritzker said in March when the legislation was introduced. “We embrace it and lead with it.”

The bill will reportedly allow the Land of Lincoln — which doles out $62 million annually to its 1,600 public and school libraries — to withhold monies from institutions practicing literary censorship.

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias championed efforts to prevent the banning of books. He told Politico books bans are “about restricting the freedom of ideas that certain individuals disagree with.”

Republican state Sen. Jason Plummer reportedly accused Democrats of imposing an “ideology on Illinois citizens, regardless of where they live or what they believe.”

PEN America, a New York City nonprofit that has supported literature and human rights for more than a century, said it saw 1,477 instances of individual books banned in the 2022-2023 school year alone. The states of Texas, Florida, Missouri, Utah, and South Carolina were the biggest culprits. The organization claims book bans “overwhelmingly” impact minority groups.

The American Library Association recorded 1,200 challenges to books over the past year. That number doubled the previous year’s total.