Senator Warren Hamilton’s bill to organize books into age-appropriate categories clears Senate Education Committee

Oklahoma City – Senate Bill 397 was approved by the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, February 21.

The bill, authored by Senator Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain, would require school and public libraries to label books and other materials as elementary, junior high, under 16, or juniors and seniors.

After receiving these designations, the materials would be placed in their respective sections, so students are only able to access books that are appropriate for their age.

“This bill would stop students from accessing obscene or offensive content at school,” Hamilton said.

“Parents across the state are concerned that their students may be able to get their hands on inappropriate materials from the library. This in no way stops parents from having discussions with their children about these topics or allowing them to read these things at home, but it gives parents peace of mind that their child will not be exposed to materials at school that are obscene or not age appropriate.”

Schools and public libraries would have until July 1, 2024, to inventory their materials and sort them into the proper sections.

“I never thought I’d share a quote from Hillary Clinton, but I think her quote ‘it takes a village’ is extremely relatable to education in our state. It takes parents, teachers, administrators, school staff, volunteers, and many others to provide a quality education to a child. This bill protects students by making sure everyone is on the same page as to what is age appropriate for children to be reading or watching.”

S.B. 397 can be considered next by the full Senate.