This website will be unavailable from Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. through Monday, June 3, 2024 at 7:00 a.m. due to data center maintenance.

 
 
  H.B. No. 900
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the regulation of library materials sold to or included
  in public school libraries.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  This Act shall be known as the Restricting
  Explicit and Adult-Designated Educational Resources (READER) Act.
         SECTION 2.  Section 33.021, Education Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 33.021.  LIBRARY STANDARDS. (a) In this section,
  "sexually explicit material" means any communication, language, or
  material, including a written description, illustration,
  photographic image, video image, or audio file, other than library
  material directly related to the curriculum required under Section
  28.002(a), that describes, depicts, or portrays sexual conduct, as
  defined by Section 43.25, Penal Code, in a way that is patently
  offensive, as defined by Section 43.21, Penal Code.
         (b)  The Texas State Library and Archives Commission, in
  consultation with the State Board of Education, shall adopt
  voluntary standards for school library services, other than
  collection development, that a[. A] school district shall consider
  [the standards] in developing, implementing, or expanding library
  services.
         (c)  The Texas State Library and Archives Commission, with
  approval by majority vote of the State Board of Education, shall
  adopt standards for school library collection development that a
  school district shall adhere to in developing or implementing the
  district's library collection development policies.
         (d)  The standards adopted under Subsection (c) must:
               (1)  be reviewed and updated at least once every five
  years; and
               (2)  include a collection development policy that:
                     (A)  prohibits the possession, acquisition, and
  purchase of:
                           (i)  harmful material, as defined by Section
  43.24, Penal Code;
                           (ii)  library material rated sexually
  explicit material by the selling library material vendor; or
                           (iii)  library material that is pervasively
  vulgar or educationally unsuitable as referenced in Pico v. Board
  of Education, 457 U.S. 853 (1982);, 457 U.S. 853 (1982);
                     (B)  recognizes that obscene content is not
  protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution;
                     (C)  is required for all library materials
  available for use or display, including material contained in
  school libraries, classroom libraries, and online catalogs;
                     (D)  recognizes that parents are the primary
  decision makers regarding a student's access to library material;
                     (E)  encourages schools to provide library
  catalog transparency;
                     (F)  recommends schools communicate effectively
  with parents regarding collection development; and
                     (G)  prohibits the removal of material based
  solely on the:
                           (i)  ideas contained in the material; or
                           (ii)  personal background of:
                                 (a)  the author of the material; or
                                 (b)  characters in the material.
         SECTION 3.  Subtitle F, Title 2, Education Code, is amended
  by adding Chapter 35 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 35. REGULATION OF CERTAIN LIBRARY MATERIAL
         Sec. 35.001.  DEFINITIONS.  In this chapter:
               (1)  "Library material vendor" includes any entity that
  sells library material to a public primary or secondary school in
  this state.
               (2)  "Sexually explicit material" has the meaning
  assigned by Section 33.021.
               (3)  "Sexually relevant material" means any
  communication, language, or material, including a written
  description, illustration, photographic image, video image, or
  audio file, other than library material directly related to the
  curriculum required under Section 28.002(a), that describes,
  depicts, or portrays sexual conduct, as defined by Section 43.25,
  Penal Code.
         Sec. 35.002.  RATINGS REQUIRED. (a) A library material
  vendor may not sell library materials to a school district or
  open-enrollment charter school unless the vendor has issued
  appropriate ratings regarding sexually explicit material and
  sexually relevant material previously sold to a district or school.
         (b)  A library material vendor may not sell library material
  rated sexually explicit material and shall issue a recall for all
  copies of library material sold to a district or school that is:
               (1)  rated sexually explicit material; and
               (2)  in active use by the district or school.
         (c)  Not later than April 1, 2024, each library material
  vendor shall develop and submit to the agency a list of library
  material rated as sexually explicit material or sexually relevant
  material sold by the vendor to a school district or open-enrollment
  charter school before that date and still in active use by the
  district or school.
         (d)  Not later than September 1 of each year, each library
  material vendor shall submit to the agency an updated list of
  library material rated as sexually explicit material or sexually
  relevant material sold by the vendor to a school district or
  open-enrollment charter school during the preceding year and still
  in active use by the district or school.
         (e)  The agency shall post each list submitted under
  Subsection (c) or (d) in a conspicuous place on the agency's
  Internet website as soon as practicable.
         Sec. 35.0021.  RATING GUIDELINES. (a) For purposes of
  determining whether a library material is sexually explicit as
  required by Section 35.002, a library material vendor must perform
  a contextual analysis of the material to determine whether the
  material describes, depicts, or portrays sexual conduct in a way
  that is patently offensive.
         (b)  In performing the contextual analysis of a library
  material, a library material vendor must consider the following
  three principal factors with respect to the material:
               (1)  the explicitness or graphic nature of a
  description or depiction of sexual conduct contained in the
  material;
               (2)  whether the material consists predominantly of or
  contains multiple repetitions of depictions of sexual or excretory
  organs or activities; and
               (3)  whether a reasonable person would find that the
  material intentionally panders to, titillates, or shocks the
  reader.
         (c)  In examining the three factors listed under Subsection
  (b), a vendor must weigh and balance each factor and conclude
  whether the library material is patently offensive, recognizing
  that because each instance of a description, depiction, or
  portrayal of sexual conduct contained in a material may present a
  unique mix of factors.
         (d)  To determine whether a description, depiction, or
  portrayal of sexual conduct contained in a material is patently
  offensive, a library material vendor must consider the full context
  in which the description, depiction, or portrayal of sexual conduct
  appears, to the extent possible, recognizing that contextual
  determinations are necessarily highly fact-specific and require
  the consideration of contextual characteristics that may
  exacerbate or mitigate the offensiveness of the material.
         Sec. 35.003.  AGENCY REVIEW. (a) The agency may review
  library material sold by a library material vendor that is not rated
  or incorrectly rated by the vendor as sexually explicit material,
  sexually relevant material, or no rating in accordance with Section
  35.002(a). If the agency determines that the library material is
  required to be rated as sexually explicit material or sexually
  relevant material or to receive no rating at all under that
  subsection, the agency shall provide written notice to the vendor.
  The notice must include information regarding the vendor's duty
  under this section and provide the corrected rating required for
  the library material.
         (b)  Not later than the 60th day after the date on which a
  library material vendor receives notice regarding library material
  under Subsection (a), the vendor shall:
               (1)  rate the library material according to the
  agency's corrected rating; and
               (2)  notify the agency of the action taken under
  Subdivision (1).
         (c)  The agency shall post and maintain in a conspicuous
  place on the agency's Internet website a list of library material
  vendors who fail to comply with Subsection (b).
         (d)  A school district or open-enrollment charter school may
  not purchase library material from a library material vendor on the
  list described by Subsection (c).
         (e)  A library material vendor placed on the list described
  by Subsection (c) may petition the agency for removal from the list.
  The agency may remove a vendor from the list only if the agency is
  satisfied that the vendor has taken appropriate action under
  Subsection (b).
         Sec. 35.004.  LIABILITY. A school district or
  open-enrollment charter school or a teacher, librarian, or other
  staff member employed by a district or school is not liable for any
  claim or damage resulting from a library material vendor's
  violation of this chapter.
         Sec. 35.005.  PARENTAL CONSENT REQUIRED FOR USE OF CERTAIN
  LIBRARY MATERIALS.  A school district or open-enrollment charter
  school may not allow a student enrolled in the district or school to
  reserve, check out, or otherwise use outside the school library
  library material the library material vendor has rated as sexually
  relevant material under Section 35.002(a) unless the district or
  school first obtains written consent from the student's parent or
  person standing in parental relation.
         Sec. 35.006.  REVIEW AND REPORTING OF CERTAIN LIBRARY
  MATERIALS. (a) Not later than January 1 of every odd-numbered
  year, each school district and open-enrollment charter school
  shall:
               (1)  review the content of each library material in the
  catalog of a district or school library that is rated as sexually
  relevant material under Section 35.002(a) by the library material
  vendor;
               (2)  determine in accordance with the district's or
  school's policies regarding the approval, review, and
  reconsideration of school library materials whether to retain each
  library material reviewed under Subdivision (1) in the school
  library catalog; and
               (3)  either:
                     (A)  post in a conspicuous place on the Internet
  website maintained by the district or school a report; or
                     (B)  provide physical copies of the report at the
  central administrative building for the district or school.
         (b)  The report required under Subsection (a)(3) must
  include:
               (1)  the title of each library material reviewed under
  Subsection (a)(1);
               (2)  the district's or school's decision regarding the
  library material under Subsection (a)(2); and
               (3)  the school or campus where the library material is
  currently located.
         Sec. 35.007.  RULES. The commissioner may adopt rules as
  necessary to administer this chapter.
         Sec. 35.008.  ASSISTANCE OF AGENCY. The agency may provide
  assistance to school districts and open-enrollment charter schools
  in complying with this chapter.
         SECTION 4.  Not later than January 1, 2024, the Texas State
  Library and Archives Commission shall adopt the standards for
  school library collection development as required under Section
  33.021(c), Education Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 5.  (a)  Not later than April 1, 2024, each library
  material vendor, as defined by Section 35.001, Education Code, as
  added by this Act, shall submit the initial list required under
  Section 35.002(c), Education Code, as added by this Act.
         (b)  Not later than September 1, 2024, each library material
  vendor, as defined by Section 35.001, Education Code, as added by
  this Act, shall submit the initial updated list required under
  Section 35.002(d), Education Code, as added by this Act.
         (c)  Not later than January 1, 2025, each school district and
  open-enrollment charter school shall conduct the initial content
  review and submit the initial report required under Section
  35.006(a), Education Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 6.  The changes in law made by this Act to the
  Education Code apply beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.
         SECTION 7.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2023.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 900 was passed by the House on April
  20, 2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 95, Nays 52, 1 present, not
  voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 900 was passed by the Senate on May
  23, 2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 19, Nays 12.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________
                     Date          
   
            _____________________
                   Governor