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Which books would be banned in Arizona schools if Legislature passes bill?

A bill is moving through the Arizona Legislature that would regulate books containing explicit references to sex.

PHOENIX — The Arizona Legislature has been advancing a bill that would ban books containing sexually explicit material or require parents to give consent before letting their children read such books.  

House Bill 2495 has already advanced through the Arizona House along party lines and passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday in a 5-3 vote. 

The legislation would prohibit K-12 public schools from supplying literary or visual materials containing depictions of sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, sexual arousal, or physical contact with a person's pubic area. 

Republican Rep. Jake Hoffman, who introduced the bill, said the legislation is not attempting to censor lessons on human anatomy but tries to protect children from pornographic images and descriptions.

"This bill is not a sex-ed curriculum bill," Hoffman said Tuesday. "This bill says we don't want sexually-explicit material in front of kids."

The bill allows for books that may be in a "gray area" when it comes to sexual references to still be taught, Hoffman said, if teachers obtain parental consent. 

Controversial books required for college credit or advanced coursework can also be read if parents first give permission. 

Democratic Sen. Christine Marsh, who's taught in Arizona schools for years, took issue with requiring teachers to obtain permission slips for assigning well-known books like "The Color Purple" or "The Handmaid's Tale."  

Marsh said she supports the intention of protecting students from pornographic material but thinks the bill's language is too broad. 

"This bill goes too far beyond that and brings up too many unintended consequences," Marsh said. 

The subject of sexually explicit books recently became an issue in the Paradise Valley Unified School District after a parent complained about an English class being assigned to read "So You've Been Publicly Shamed," which contains sexual references. 

The district's superintendent sent out an apology about the book assignment and said a "breakdown in communication" allowed it to be assigned. 

RELATED: 'It's extremely inappropriate': Phoenix high school removes controversial book from reading list

RELATED: 'None of your business': Parents push back on Arizona bills targeting transgender youth

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