What will the anti-CRT bill do? Not much – Daily Leader

The two legislative Republicans who championed the anti-criticism race theory bill in the Senate and House have said it all: Conservative out-of-state media outlets inspired the Mississippi bill, it wouldn’t little to change or limit education in public schools, and his passage was largely a token gesture for Republican voters ahead of the 2023 election year.

If you missed the bill’s eight total hours of floor debate, that’s the short time, according to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mike McLendon and his House counterpart, Rep. Joey Hood. Both Republicans seemed grossly ill-prepared to answer basic questions about what exactly the three-page bill would do.

All black lawmakers in the Senate and House voted against the bill, which now sits on Governor Tate Reeves’ desk for signature or veto. Black senators were so upset with the bill that they walked out in protest during the final vote – an inevitably successful vote, given the supermajority of Republicans. In Mississippi history, a legislative walkout like this had never been done before.

McLendon, the official “author” of the bill, struggled to answer basic questions about the bill from fellow senators on Jan. 21.

He said he heard from many of his constituents who learned about critical race theory “on the national news” and wanted to make sure it wasn’t taught in Mississippi. That, he said, is why he “sponsored” the bill, the text of which was provided to him by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, which often receives draft text from advocacy groups. interests outside the state.

McLendon said all his bill did was “to prohibit any child or student from being told that he is inferior or superior to another.”

Similarly, Hood struggled to answer basic questions from his House colleagues during the March 3 floor debate. Under constant questioning, he admitted that he had not studied the origins of critical race theory.

“A lot of people have a lot of different definitions of what critical race is,” Hood said.

He has repeatedly stated that all the bill would do is say that no university, community college or public school “shall order or require students to affirm that any sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior or that individuals should be treated unfavorably based on such characteristics.

“Mississippi history can be taught under this legislation, Hood said repeatedly from the chamber well when he could not provide answers to specific questions about the bill.

When pressed by colleagues whether passing the bill was more of a token gesture for Republican voters than anything else, neither McLendon nor Hood offered an answer to the question.

“This bill is just before us so that some of you can go home and have something to campaign on,” Rep. Willie Bailey, D-Greenville, said during the House debate. Hood offered no rebuttal.

House Speaker Philip Gunn appeared to concede the point himself shortly after the final House vote. He led the House in prayer from the speaker’s stand, saying, “Lord, we face some difficult things in this body. We all represent a riding. We all have high stakes voters. Sometimes these problems are difficult. Today is one of those days, Lord. We pray for healing, we pray that you will not allow this to create division, not only within this body but within this state.

Critical Race Theory is not taught in any K-12 public schools in Mississippi. The only public entity teaching a CRT course is the University of Mississippi School of Law, Mississippi Today found. And even a Republican of that class says state lawmakers have completely misrepresented the actual teachings of the course.

The term “critical race theory” is not mentioned once in the three-page bill, meaning the term is highly unlikely to find its way into state code books. .

As Republicans hobbled through House and Senate debates with no real answers, some opponents said they fear that even if the bill’s language is innocuous, it will have a chilling effect on teaching the history — especially Mississippi’s dark and racist history — and lead to censorship in classrooms across the state.

“Language means something to me,” Rep. Zakiya Summers said during the House debate. “…You can’t pass a bill like this and continue the rhetoric that we can all work together.”

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today

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