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UPDATED TLA Statement on Parental Oversight Bill

Sunday, March 1, 2020  
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The Tennessee Library Association (TLA) continues to monitor Tennessee House Bill 2721 and its companion Senate Bill 2896, also known as the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act. Although the proposed legislation remains in the early stages of the legislative process, TLA continues to communicate our opposition to this bill to legislators.

Governing boards and librarians within each community already endeavor to provide enriching and valuable reading/viewing materials and programs to their users. Local boards already possess the full authority to set policies for their library’s public meeting spaces, and work hard to provide equal access to those spaces. HB2721/SB2896 mandates the election of oversight panels to make final decisions regarding library materials “of any kind,” therefore undermining the authority of existing library boards to set and maintain policies granted within the Tennessee Code.

Therefore, TLA feels the proposal, if enacted, would mandate unnecessary and duplicated legislation, placing an added burden of government oversight on local library boards.

TLA is proud of our ongoing partnership with state lawmakers to meet the needs of our public libraries and the communities they serve. Should HB 2127/SB 2896 continue to take shape, TLA is committed to continuing our work to protect the free and open access to information within Tennessee libraries.

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