Call to Action – Senate Bill 049

Support Senate Bill 24 – 049, “Content of Material in Libraries”

Colorado lawmakers Lisa Cutter, Chris Kolker, Juie Joseph and Eliza Hamrick have introduced a bill that would change how school libraries and public libraries handle book challenges. Senate Bill 24 – 049, “Content of Material in Libraries,” would protect libraries from the increasing number of material challenges and would prohibit challenges based on the racial identity, ethnic background or gender identity of authors.

In practical terms, SB 24 – 049 would require the following (adapted from Book Riot):

  • Establish a process for challenging material for students, parents, and community members.
  • Ensure that reviews of challenge materials are conducted to standards set by a school committee or the director of a public library. The school committee will be appointed by the district superintendent and cover challenges to materials in all schools within the district (thereby applying uniform standards).
  • Require all materials to remain on shelves and accessible during a challenge. Anyone who refuses to remove material will be safeguarded from retaliation.
  • Prevent the state board of education from overriding the requirements of the bill as applied to schools.
  • Emphasize that decisions made to the acquisition or removal of materials or displays cannot be discriminatory.
    A team of stakeholders that includes public library directors and lawyers have submitted amendments, and it’s likely that there will be changes to the original wording of the bill.

The bill is currently scheduled to be heard by the House Education Committee on February 12th at 1:30pm.

If you’d like to take action or participate in the process, there are a few ways of doing so. You can:

  • Sign up for testimony, using this link to do so.
  • Email Senator Cutter’s aide Adrienne, with a subject line of Want to Testify for FTR. If you sign up for testimony you will also receive emails if the hearing gets pushed back or canceled.
  • Optional: fill out the revamped form if you want to be kept in communication about future hearings or become part of a Google group interested in the bill.

Individuals who choose to testify as a private individual are protected from employer retaliation by The Protection for Public Workers Act.