State Legislatures

Image of young boy wearing a mask getting a bandage applied after a vaccine.
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Student Well-Being Anti-Vaccine Ideology Gains Ground as Lawmakers Seek to Erode Rules for Kids’ Shots
Experts say the movement has gained momentum amid the pandemic, boosting the reach of high-profile anti-vaccine activists.
Sandy West, Kaiser Health News, April 26, 2022
6 min read
Kara Klever holds a sign in protest in the hall outside of the Blue Room as Governor Kevin Stitt signs a bill into law that prevents transgender girls and women from competing on female sports teams at the Capitol Wednesday, March 30, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oka. The bill, which easily passed the Republican-led House and Senate mostly along party lines, took effect immediately with the governor's signature. It applies to female sports teams in both high school and college.
Kara Klever holds a sign in protest as Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signs a bill into law that prevents transgender girls and women from competing on female sports teams.
Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman via AP
States Beyond 'Don't Say Gay': Other States Seek to Limit LGBTQ Youth, Teaching
Legislators want to ban lessons on LGBTQ communities and require teachers to tell parents when students want their pronouns changed.
Stephen Sawchuk, April 6, 2022
9 min read
Demonstrators protest inside the Florida State Capitol as lawmakers acted on a bill to forbid discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
Demonstrators protest inside the Florida State Capitol as lawmakers acted on a bill to forbid discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Equity & Diversity Here's What Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' and Anti-'Woke' Bills Actually Say
Two controversial bills involving instruction on issues including race and sexuality have been widely publicized and often mischaracterized.
Eesha Pendharkar, March 18, 2022
4 min read
large hand with pencil is erasing a large dollar sign.
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Education Funding Fines, Budget Cuts, Spending Limits: How State Lawmakers Want to Censor Instruction
An Oklahoma legislator wants teachers to pay $10,000 or more out of their own pockets for teaching about sex or sexual orientation, for example.
Eesha Pendharkar & Mark Lieberman, February 14, 2022
7 min read
First Graders Alex Albin, left, and Tyler Custodio wear masks in Amanda McCoy's first grade class at the newly-rebuilt Addison Mizner School in Boca Raton, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. Palm Beach County Schools opened the school year with a masking requirement with an opt-out option.
First Graders Alex Albin, left, and Tyler Custodio wear masks in Amanda McCoy's first grade class at the newly-rebuilt Addison Mizner School in Boca Raton, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. Palm Beach County Schools opened the school year with a masking requirement with an opt-out option.
Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP
Law & Courts Fla. Districts That Required Masks Could Face $200 Million Punishment
School districts say they tried to keep students and their families safe when they required students to wear masks last year.
Brooke Baitinger, South Florida Sun Sentinel, February 10, 2022
4 min read
Illustration of hands holding thought bubbles.
melitas/Getty
States Bill Could Require Posting a Year's Worth of Lesson Plans. Teachers Aren't Happy
Teachers share their frustration over an Indiana bill that would require educators to post a year's worth of lessons.
Marina Whiteleather, February 10, 2022
1 min read
People protest outside the offices of the New Mexico Public Education Department's office on Nov. 12, 2021, in Albuquerque. The education department proposed changes to the social studies curriculum that critics describe as a veiled attempt to teach critical race theory. Supporters say the new curriculum, which includes ethnic studies, is "anti-racist."
People protest outside the offices of the New Mexico Public Education Department's office last November in Albuquerque. The education department proposed changes to the social studies curriculum that critics describe as a veiled attempt to teach critical race theory. Supporters say the new curriculum, which includes ethnic studies, is "anti-racist."
Cedar Attanasio/AP
States Here's the Long List of Topics Republicans Want Banned From the Classroom
There are now 61 censorship bills proposed in 24 states. One legislator wants teachers to pay $10,000 for teaching "critical race theory."
Sarah Schwartz & Eesha Pendharkar, February 2, 2022
12 min read
Image of books on a library shelf.
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Curriculum Texas Lawmaker Demands Districts Provide Lists of Books on Racism, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ
The Texas attorney general candidate's request has received criticism from educator groups who say the inquiry is politically motivated.
Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, October 28, 2021
3 min read
In this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, file photo, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear addresses the media in Frankfort, Ky. Kentucky's governor said Sunday, Oct. 11, that he will quarantine after a member of his security detail who drove with his family the day before later tested positive for COVID-19. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said he and his family feel fine, show no coronavirus symptoms and have tested negative for the virus.
In this Sept. 23, 2020, file photo, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear addresses the media in Frankfort, Ky.
Timothy D. Easley/AP
States Kentucky Ends All Statewide Mask Mandates After Governor's Vetoes Overridden
The Republican-led legislation strips the Democratic governor's ability to issue statewide mask mandates in schools or anywhere else.
Jack Brammer and Alex Acquisto, Lexington Herald-Leader, September 10, 2021
4 min read
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference in Austin, Texas, on June 8, 2021.
Eric Gay/AP
States Bill to Restrict How Race and Racism Is Taught in Schools Headed to Texas Governor
If the "critical race theory" bill sounds familiar, that's because lawmakers passed a similar one during the regular legislative session.
Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, September 3, 2021
4 min read
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson takes off his face mask as he arrives for a daily coronavirus briefing at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. on April 27, 2020. Hutchinson signed a bill in April banning statewide and local mask mandates in Arkansas, but he is now considering rolling back that law amid concerns of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson takes off his face mask as he arrives for a daily coronavirus briefing at the state Capitol in Little Rock in April.
Staton Breidenthal/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP
States Arkansas Judge Pauses Ban on School Mask Mandates After Lawmakers Fail to Act
As Arkansas sees soaring rates of COVID-19, school districts will—at least for now—be able to set their own local mask requirements.
Evie Blad, August 6, 2021
3 min read
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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker answers questions during a news conference at the Illinois State Capitol on May 22, 2020, in Springfield, Ill.
Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP
Social Studies Illinois Becomes First State to Require Teaching Asian American History in Public Schools
The law is the latest in a series of new requirements the governor has signed that aim to make the teaching of history more inclusive.
Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, July 9, 2021
3 min read
Illustration.
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Standards Social Studies Standards Spark Fierce Debate in N.C.
Advocates say the new standards are more inclusive because they give more attention to the perspectives of historically marginalized groups.
T. Keung Hui, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), July 8, 2021
6 min read
Monica Wilbur expresses her opposition to critical race theory at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Standing behind her is Betty Sawyer, who holds an opposing point of view.
Monica Wilbur, center, expresses her opposition to critical race theory at the statehouse in Salt Lake City earlier this year, while Betty Sawyer, standing behind her, supports it.
Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
States Four Things Schools Won't Be Able to Do Under 'Critical Race Theory' Laws
Anti-racism training, discussions about sex, misogyny and LGBTQ issues, and consulting with outside advocacy organizations are all at risk.
Eesha Pendharkar, June 30, 2021
5 min read