Book bans are the subject of a hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he sees it all as being about parental rights. The Iowa legislature passed a bill this past session that became law which requires Iowa schools to remove most books that depict sex acts from classrooms and school libraries.

Grassley refused to offer an opinion on the state law.  “I wouldn’t try to second-guess the Iowa legislature,” Grassley says. “Under our constitution, education is pretty much left up to the individual states, except for some financing to help states at the federal level.” Grassley, a Republican, says the hearing is called: “Book Bans: Examining How Censorship Limits Liberty and Literature.”

Grassley says, “I’m taking part in this because the approach is about parental rights and what they have to say about what their kids ought to be reading — or not reading.” The new state law has left some school administrators uncertain how to proceed on certain books. Some school boards have started issuing lists of books they’re pulling from shelves, while others have requested instruction from state education leaders.

Grassley says the law should be clear about what books are inappropriate for certain ages.  “I’m sure you’ve seen some of this read on television,” Grassley says. “Pretty pornographic stuff that’s being read by some parents to the school boards, because the school boards might not even know what’s in their library.” The new state law will take effect in January. Some nationally-known authors have criticized Iowa’s legislature for the law as their books are among those being banned in some schools.

Radio Iowa