HB 900 Implementation
HB 900 by Rep. Jared Patterson, the READER Act (Restricting Explicit and Adult Designated Educational Resources, was passed by the 88th Texas Legislature and signed into law by Governor Abbott. There is a great deal of confusion and uncertainty about how this new law will be implemented. The following information and resources will be updated as TLA receives clarification and information.
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HB 900 defines sexually explicit and sexually relevant material and requires library material vendors (any entity that sells library materials to a public school in Texas) to assign sexually explicit and sexually relevant ratings to any material the vendor determines meet the law’s definitions. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is required to adopt standards for collection development, to be approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE) that school districts are required to follow when developing and implementing collection development policies. The mandatory TSLAC collection development standards apply to materials in school libraries and in classroom libraries.
Vendors must issue ratings for materials previous sold to Texas school districts that are in active use, and must recall library materials sold to a district that the vendor has rated sexually explicit. Materials rated sexually explicit may not be sold to Texas school districts. Materials rated sexually relevant require parental consent for a student to check-out the material.
Vendors are required to submit their first report listing library materials they have rated sexually relevant or sexually explicit to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) by April 1, 2024. Beginning September 1, 2024, vendors must submit an updated list to TEA not later than September 1 of every year. TEA must post these lists on their website.
TEA has the authority to review library material sold by a vendor that is not rated or is incorrectly rated to determine if the material should be rated as sexually explicit or sexually relevant or receive no rating. TEA will notify the vendor of their decision and the vendor must update the rating and notify the agency they have done so within 60 days. If a vendor does not comply, they are placed on a “do not purchase” list maintained by TEA and school districts cannot purchase from that vendor.
Every odd-numbered year, beginning January 1, 2025, school districts must review the material in their collection rated sexually relevant by vendors and determine, based on the districts collection development and reconsideration policies, if the material should remain in the collection. The district must post a report that includes the title of everything reviewed, the district’s decision, and the campus where the material is located. This report must be posted on the district website or printed copies provided a the district or campus.
TEA is directed to adopt rules to administer this new law, and may provide assistance to districts in complying with the law.
|June 13, 2023||Signed by Governor Abbott|
|September 1, 2023||Effective date|
|January 1, 2024||TSLAC mandatory collection development standards, approved by SBOE, final|
|April 1, 2024||Vendors provide initial list of materials they rated sexually explicit or sexually relevant to TEA
Materials rated sexually explicit must be removed from school libraries
|September 1, 2024||Vendors provide updated list of materials they have rated to TEA|
|January 1, 2025||School districts review vendor rated sexually relevant material in their current collection and post a report on their website|
- School districts and librarians operate under existing, approved procurement, collection development and reconsideration policies as 2023-2024 school year begins.
- Vendors, not librarians or any other district staff, are responsible for rating library materials.
- Ratings are only applied to material vendors determine meet the definitions of sexually relevant or sexually explicit
- Material rated sexually explicit by vendors must be removed from the collection.
- Parental consent for materials rated sexually relevant needed when vendors provide those ratings.
- Reconsideration requests follow current, approved district policies.
TSLAC Proposed Collection Development Standards August 4 – TSLAC commissioners approved to be sent to SBOE; will be submitted to SBOE for consideration at their Aug 29 – Sept 1 meeting
Lawsuit challenging HB 900 filed in Federal court by coalition of booksellers, authors, and publishers. The plaintiffs seek preliminary and permanent injunctions to enjoin the implementation of the bill.