MONTGOMERY — A bill banning the teaching of "divisive concepts" in Alabama schools and universities has passed the Senate State Governmental Affairs Committee on partisan lines.

According to the legislation, the bill would prohibit certain public entities, including state agencies, local boards of education, and public institutions of higher education, from promoting or endorsing, or requiring affirmation of, certain divisive concepts relating to race, sex or religion.

The bill would also prohibit certain public entities from conditioning enrollment or attendance in certain classes or training based on race or color. It would also authorize certain public entities to discipline or terminate employees or contractors who violate the bill's provisions.

State Rep. Ed Oliver (R-Dadeville) said in committee on Wednesday the legislation "only prohibits the extreme divisive concepts that are listed in this bill." 

"It does not stop teaching about slavery, bad history or that racism exists. It does not stop the teaching of black history or for that matter any other type of history," Oliver said. "What this bill does is it stops a new woke ideology that divides people, adults and children alike." 

The House version of the bill passed out of a House committee a few weeks ago but hasn't been brought to the floor for a vote.

"My thing is, we need to find out what they're going to do before we take it up to make sure that it's going to pass," Alabama House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) told 1819 News last week. "If it's not going to pass, then it may not be something we take up because it's one of those issues that's going to cost us a day of legislation. And, you know, to kill a number of bills if we can't get it out in the Senate, then we're not doing the body any good or the state."

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