PHOTO/GAGE SKIDMORE: U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis of Florida speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference.

From The Associated Press:

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking state universities for the numbers and ages of their students who sought or received gender dysphoria treatment, including sex reassignment surgery and hormone prescriptions, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Why he’s conducting the survey wasn’t completely clear. LGBTQ advocates have criticized DeSantis for policies seen as discriminatory, including banning instruction on sexual and gender identity in early grades and making it easier for parents to remove books related to the topic in public schools.

“We can see cuts in funding for universities to treat students with this condition, and I think an all-out elimination of services is certainly on the table,” House Democratic leader Fentrice Driskell said.

The survey was released the same day the university presidents voted to support DeSantis’ “anti-woke” agenda and to reject “the progressivist higher education indoctrination agenda,” while committing to “removing all woke positions and ideologies by February 1, 2023,” the state Education Department said in a news release.

From USA Today:

Iowa House Republicans are proposing limitations to the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, which could drastically narrow what items program beneficiaries can purchase.

Under the proposal items including white bread, American sliced cheese and fresh meat would not be covered by the program. Instead, House File 3, introduced last week, would restrict users to items on the state’s approved list for the Women, Infants and Children program.

SNAP is a federal program to assist lower-income households to purchase healthier food options while the WIC provides states federal grants to help supplement the diets of new, lower-income mothers and pregnant people.

The bill would prevent SNAP recipients from buying everyday kitchen staples including butter, cooking oils, spices, white rice, rice noodles and canned vegetables, fruits and soups, as the approved WIC list is restricted to only 23 food categories — four of them being specific to infants. …

Critics of the bill have said that the proposal would dramatically affect low-income, older and disabled Iowans, who rely on the food assistance program, by narrowing their options to a restrictive list intended for new mothers and pregnant people.

From The Washington Post:

In one Texas school district, school librarians have ordered 6,000 fewer books this year than the year before, because under a new rule parents must have 30 days to review the titles before the school board votes to approve them. In Pennsylvania, a school librarian who must now obtain her principal’s OK for acquisitions has bought just 100 books this school year, compared with her typical 600.

And throughout Florida, many school librarians have been unable to order books for nearly a year, thanks to their districts’ interpretation of a state law requiring librarians to undergo an online retraining program on “the selection and maintenance of library … collections”—which was not published until this month. Julie Miller, a librarian for the Clay County School District, has not been permitted to order a book since March 2022. In a typical year, she would have ordered 300 titles by now. Instead, she has had more than a hundred conversations with disappointed students seeking fresh titles, she said, especially the latest books in their favorite fantasy series.

“It puts me in a terrible position,” Miller said. She has had to brainstorm a novel use for the 40 percent of her budget formerly devoted to books: “This year, I’m going to replace all of our chairs in the library.”

States and districts nationwide have begun to constrain what librarians can order. At least 10 states have passed laws giving parents more power over which books appear in libraries or limiting students’ access to books, a Washington Post analysis found. At the same time, school districts are passing policies that bar certain kinds of texts—most often, those focused on issues of gender and sexuality—while increasing administrative or parental oversight of acquisitions.

From The Guardian:

Across the United States, Republican politicians are seeking to bring in new laws that crack down on drag shows as part of a broader backlash against LGTBQ+ rights sweeping through rightwing parts of America.

Legislators in at least eight states have introduced legislation aiming to restrict or censor the shows, according to a new report from a leading freedom of speech group. A total of 14 bills have been introduced across Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

Other bills are also being drafted in other states, including in Montana and Idaho.

The introduction of anti-drag legislation, says PEN America, coincides with an increase in political rhetoric about drag performances and drag queen story hours in public libraries, as well as a growing number of recent protests or interruptions of drag events.

Now is not the time to be quiet and do nothing. It’s important that we all support efforts to fight these sorts of things. Freedom isn’t free, after all.

Jimmy Boegle is the publisher and executive editor of the Reno News & Review. He is also the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent in Palm Springs, Calif. A native of Reno,...

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