The St. Louis news station, Fox 2, reported this week that the Illinois Senate has voted to advance a bill that would require public schools to teach a unit on LGBT history. This bill would not take effect until the 2019-2020 school year, to give schools adequate time to develop the curriculum. The Illinois General Assembly website states that SB3249 was introduced by Senator Heather A. Steans. Steans, a Democratic representative for Illinois's 7th district, introduced the bill to the 100th general assembly on February 15th of this year.

The bill passed the Senate education committee with a vote of 8-2.

According to the Illinois General Assembly website, the bill would require all public elementary and high schools to teach a unit on the contributions of LGBT persons in the history of the country and the state.

What does SB3249 say?

The first part of the bill states that all purchased textbooks must portray the diversity of our society accurately. This document also sets parameters for what a textbook is in the full text of the document. The bill does not limit the term textbook to books that are printed; it has language to include electronic sources that might be used in a class among other materials. SB3249 also states that this measure will apply to all public elementary and high schools in the state of Illinois.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Senator Steans stated that the bill is trying to be implemented in a way that will give flexibility to the school districts. In the same article, it was stated that supporters had met with Governor Rauner of Illinois about the bill. One of Rauner's spokeswomen stated that if the bill landed on his desk he would seriously consider it.

One organization that opposes the bill is the Illinois Family Institute. Ralph Rivera, a lobbyist for the Illinois Family Institute, gave a statement to the Chicago Tribune on the subject. He stated that adding LGBT history to a school's curriculum will counter the value system that students already have. In that same article, Brian Johnson, the CEO of Equality Illinois, said that by not having a section on LGBT history students are deprived of good role models, and are also presented with a lopsided view of history.

What is happening now?

This bill is still in the early stages of the process of becoming a law. The bill was introduced in February and has several co-sponsors added since it was proposed.