The window for the passage of proposed legislation prohibiting minors from attending drag shows has passed for the Alabama Legislature in 2023.

However, House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartsalle) pledges to get it done in 2024.

During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5 earlier this week, the Morgan County Republican lawmaker discussed the importance of that measure and others to rein in the exposure of questionable sexual content to minors.

"I think we have got to address several more issues we are dealing with in our state — the true problems and concerns of parents and kids in Alabama," Stadthagen said. "And you know, the drag queen stuff that we talked about — I think that is something that we need to address. Obviously, that is not going to go through this year. I will personally make sure it crosses the finish line next year. We also have books that are getting into our school system, that our kids do not need to see what they see in these books. And that is something that is going to be number one priority on my list next year."

"At the end of the day, I don't want to tell someone who is an American citizen what they can do in their lives, period," he continued. "But when what you do impacts on others, especially minors, that is when we step in — just like with the athletics bill I did. When you inflict and bother someone else — that's when we step in. You've got kids who are going to shows to watch grown men dress as women putting dollar bills in their clothing. To me, that is a mental disorder. That is something that — you're grooming these kids. You're trying to make them somebody and accept something that is not acceptable."

Stadthagen applauded efforts by citizens at the local level to take on those threats on display in Alabama's public institutions.

"I just read about a petition in Prattville to try to ban some inappropriate books that are in their school systems," he said. "Hats off to them. That's something, as parents, we need to make sure what our kids are digesting that it's appropriate. And that is our job as parents. For a kid to digest something that's very inappropriate that their parents wouldn't approve of in the school system — I mean, how many times am I able to go with my daughter to the library at school? Not very often. So, we need to make sure that what is on the shelf is appropriate. That's a sad thing to talk about, but we have to talk about it now."

He also said it was more widespread across the state than some had estimated.

"It's throughout our whole entire state," Stadthagen said. "You know, you've got the book fair that goes to every single school. I was with my daughter at the book fair, and seeing some of those books literally made me sick to my stomach. That's what kind of fueled my fire because we should not have to deal with that."

"Some of the stuff they're being introduced to, and at the age they're being introduced to it, you know, I was aware of things like this when I believe, eighth grade, ninth grade — stuff like that," he continued. "We've got third graders, fourth graders who are being introduced to things that they should not be introduced to. Even the cartoons, if you pay attention to the cartoons that they're watching, you'll start seeing an agenda being pushed with rainbow flags, etc., and, you know, two moms with a child."

Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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