State Watch

Washington governor signs Holocaust education bill

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill Friday "strongly encouraging" the state's schools to teach students about the Holocaust.

The legislation does not require that schools teach about the genocide but encourages middle schools, junior high schools and high schools to add the lessons to their curriculums.

The state schools superintendent will work with a Washington nonprofit organization to develop guidelines for instruction and training for teachers.  

The bill had unanimously passed the state House and Senate before arriving on Inslee's desk.

"It's hard to smile given the significance of this, but I do feel that this is something people should feel good about," Inslee, who is running for president, said after signing the legislation.

Advocates have said the bill is necessary to grapple with a spike in hate crimes across the country, underlined by last year's deadly shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue near Pittsburgh.

"I'm a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, so this is really meaningful," state Rep. Tana Senn (D) told The Associated Press.

"All you have to do is go on Facebook and look at what people write from behind their keyboards," state Sen. Ann Rivers (R), a sponsor of the bill, added.

Legislatures in Oregon and North Carolina are considering similar bills, though they have not yet been passed.

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