Arizona House Rep. Ben Toma introduced a bill that would require schools to teach students about the history of communist regimes, according to reports. 

Toma, the Speaker of the Arizona House, said the bill would require lessons about “the prevalence of poverty, starvation, migration, systemic lethal violence and suppression of speech,” under communist regimes, according to the Arizona Capitol Times. 

He includes a list of leaders relevant to the course, including Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro and Nicholas Maduro. 

Toma said the reason for it was “because 100 million people lost their lives worldwide.”

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Toma’s proposed legislation includes two parts, the first, declaring Nov. 7 as “Victims of Communism Day,” and the second, mandating a lesson on communist regimes to be a part of the American government course required for students to graduate from high school.

“These same ideas are being brought up now, over and over and over again,” he told the media outlet. “And they have to be taught.”

Toma also reflected on his family’s experience of fleeing Romania when he was a child.

“It’s not just my background,” he told the Arizona Capitol Times. “It’s the background of many other people including currently in China, in North Korea, Vietnam, places like that that still have communism, that still have to deal with it.”

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“Not to mention the amount of damage and, again, the millions or hundreds of millions that have lost their lives, or more,” he continued.

He dismissed arguments that health care was more accessible in Cuba now than it was under the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship, according to the outlet, because Cubans continue to flee the nation. He also cited his own experience in Romania. 

“I remember how the system worked in Romania,” Toma said.”If you weren’t able to pay and bribe your way into getting care, you never got it.” 

“And that’s the reality. Millions died.” He argued that the communist system was structured the same everywhere and therefore, needed to be taught in schools. 

Virginia Democrats rejected a bill in February 2023 that would have required schools to teach about the dangers and victims of communism after the state’s largest teachers union argued that it may encourage anti-Asian sentiment. 

Emily Yen, a research coordinator for the Virginia Education Association (VEA), said the union opposed HB 1816 because four out of five current communist regimes are in Asian countries. 

“We are concerned that this bill would subject Asian-American students to anti-Asian sentiments,” she said. The five remaining communist regimes are China, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam – all in East Asia – as well as Cuba, which is in the Caribbean. 

Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.