Texas law requiring book vendors to rate their books sold to schools is being challenged

A new law in Texas that requires book vendors to rate all books they sell to schools, including those previously sold, as sexually explicit or not is being challenged in court by two book vendors.

The law, known as the READER Act, was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in June. It prohibits sexually explicit books from being shelved in school libraries across the state.

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Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, is one of the vendors who is suing the state. She says the law is too vague and targets her first amendment rights.

"We're not all going to rate these books, if we get to that point, the same way," Koehler said. "Because what might be offensive to you is not offensive to me. And the other way around."

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Christen Bentley, who serves on the Republican Party Executive Board in Tyler, Texas, supports the law. She says it's necessary to protect children from inappropriate books.

"The state has a compelling interest to protect children," Bentley said. "It is not a parent's right to have sexually explicit indecent books in the school library."

The defendants in the lawsuit are the Texas State Library, the Board of Education, and The Texas Education Agency. They have not yet filed their response to the lawsuit.