How to Stand Against #HB900

Dear Community of Readers,

If you live in Texas, you know the legislature is in session and bills are being proposed daily.

House Bill 900 (relating to the regulation of books sold to or included in public school libraries) was proposed, and if passed as currently written, would severely limit the relationship book vendors, like BookPeople, can have with our local school districts. If you value what we do for schools in our community–bringing in book fairs, author events, working to support your educators and librarians–this is what’s on the line with this bill.

There is also Senate Bill 13 that would create “school library advisory councils” instead of trusting trained and certified educators and librarians to have the responsibility of ensuring “local community values are reflected in each school library catalog.” The bill would threaten librarians with criminal prosecution for just doing their jobs and invite frivolous lawsuits by removing the exemptions from prosecution from the Texas Penal Code.

Overall, these legislations would force librarians and vendors to err on the side of caution by not carrying or selling a book title for fear it might run afoul of the law and will likely result in self-censorship and will limit the freedom to read, and students’ access to legal and constitutionally protected materials.

Please contact your state lawmakers and urge them to oppose bills Texas HB 900 and SB 13. Both bills would represent unnecessary and egregious intrusions by the state into the business of selling books and curating library selection.

We also urge you to let the Calendars Committee know that you oppose HB 900.

This bill will only sit in the Calendar Committee for a short period of time so we are asking you to send a message THIS WEEK, if possible.

As a reminder, House Bill 900 (relating to the regulation of books sold to or included in public school libraries) was proposed, and if passed as currently written, would severely limit the relationship book vendors, like BookPeople, can have with our local school districts. If you value what we do for schools in our community–bringing in book fairs, author events, working to support your educators and librarians–this is what’s on the line with this bill.

We are asking you to contact the Calendars Committee members to stand against #HB900. Their contact information is below.

Chair: Rep. Dustin Burrows; Dustin.Burrows@house.texas.gov
Vice Chair: Rep. Toni Rose; Toni.Rose@house.texas.gov
Rep. David Cook; David.Cook@house.texas.gov
Rep. Cole Hefner; Cole.Hefner@house.texas.gov
Rep. Charlie Geren; Charlie.Geren@house.texas.gov
Rep. Ana Hernandez; Ana.Hernandez@house.texas.gov
Rep. Ann Johnson; Ann.Johnson@house.texas.gov
Rep. Jared Patterson; Jared.Patterson@house.texas.gov
Rep. Shelby Slawson; Shelby.Slawson@house.texas.gov
Rep. James Talarico; James.Talarico@house.texas.gov
Rep. Ed Thompson; Ed.Thompson@house.texas.gov

Personal messages of how this will affect you or your student are the best, but if you are short on time, we’ve provided sample verbiage for you to use below.

Sample verbiage:

Hello, my name is _______ , I’m from (city in Texas) and my zip code is_______. I strongly oppose HB 900. Decisions about school library books should be made by trained and certified librarians and teachers, not third-party vendors. The vague language of this bill threatens to ban books that are vital resources to all students. I urge you to stand against book bans and oppose HB 900 in Calendars.

As always, thank you for your support!

BookPeople


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