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Library-Related Issues

TLA tracked nearly 40 bills during the 88th Legislative Session. Thank you to everyone for advocating to support all Texas libraries.

Did Not Pass

Penal Code Amendments
A dozen bills were filed seeking to repeal the affirmative defense to prosecution for the criminal offense of sale, distribution, or display of harmful material to a minor. Texas Penal Code Section 43.24(c )
That section (43.24(c) TX Penal Code) states it is an affirmative defense to prosecution if the materials were provided by a person having a scientific, educational, governmental or other similar justification.
None of the bills received a hearing in the House or Senate committees they were referred to.

HB 540 by Longoria relating to TSLAC authority to award grants for library construction. Passed by House, referred to Senate Business & Commerce committee, did not receive a hearing

HB 750  by Dean would have allowed junior college libraries to donate library materials to any person or organization if library staff determine the materials are duplicate, are no longer appropriate for the collection due to age, condition, or obsolete content, and have little or no monetary value. Passed by House, referred to Senate Higher Education subcommittee, did not receive a hearing

SB 1601 by Hughes  relating to prohibiting municipal libraries that host certain events (i.e. drag queen storytime) from receiving state or other public funding. Passed by the Senate, referred to House State Affairs committee, did not receive a hearing

SB 13 by Paxton required TSLAC to submit collection development standards to SBOE for approval and, once approved, those standards would be mandatory for school districts. The bill required school boards to approve all library materials to be purchased. It also established Local School Library Advisory Councils charged with recommending policies and procedures for purchasing library materials consistent with local values, library materials for each grade level, removal of library materials determined to be harmful, indecent or profane, the policies and procedures for processing challenges, and action to be taken in response to a challenge. Passed the Senate, referred to House State Affairs Committee, did not receive a hearing.

Passed

SB 18 by Creighton as filed would have prohibited tenure at public institutions of higher education. That version passed the Senate. The House introduced and passed a substitute version which codifies tenure in state law and requires university governing boards to ensure they have clear guidelines to grant tenure and conduce regular performance reviews for those with tenure. The House version also directs regents to ensure the policy includes specific instances in which universities can fire a tenured professor.
Senate concurred with House version and passed the bill, signed by Governor, effective Sept. 1, 2023

HB 2177 by Stucky establishes a digital textbook and learning materials subscription pilot program at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The institutional grant program will fund digital textbook subscriptions at public state, junior, and technical colleges. THECB must undergo a competitive bidding process to select the subscription program and submit a report to the state executive branch and legislature evaluating the pilot’s effect on student success as well as a recommendation regarding whether the pilot should be continued, expanded, or terminated. Passed by House and Senate, signed by Governor, effective June 10, 2023.

HB 900 by Patterson defines sexually explicit material and sexually relevant material and requires TSLAC, in consultation with SBOE, to adopt school library collection development standards that school districts must follow. Library material vendors (any entity that sells library materials to a public school) are required to assign appropriate ratings related to sexually relevant and sexually explicit material. Passed the House and Senate, signed by Governor, effective September 1, 2023.

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