March 5, 2020
We appreciate your interest in making sure HB 1041 does not pass in the Georgia General Assembly. Similar bills were defeated in Colorado and Maine last year, thanks to the coordinated efforts of school librarians and other interested groups. GLMA is working with ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom to hopefully match Idaho's experience in not having this bill move out of committee.
HB 1041 was presented in a subcommittee meeting on March 3, 2020, but no vote was taken to move it to the Judiciary Committee. Based on this fact, we are asking members to contact members of the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee and ask that they NOT advance this bill from their committee.
Your message should be simple, such as: "As a [school librarian/concerned citizen/parent] in Georgia, I ask that you NOT advance HB 1041 from the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee." If you want to add more, you can note that local and district committees are already required in Georgia for these purposes, without restricting First Amendment rights, and federal CIPA laws mandate filtering.
We encourage you to call and/or email from PERSONAL accounts and after work hours. Contact information can be found below and through the link.
If the bill does not leave this committee before Crossover Day (March 12th), it will be "dead." If it does move from committee, it must pass the House by March 12th to remain viable.
PLEASE keep an eye on GLMA social media updates next week, as the Capitol will be very busy and we will need fast and strong responses in that case.
A big thank you to Nan Brown and Amanda Lee for their efforts in compiling and sharing this information.
Judiciary Non-Civil Committee Leadership:
Chair Chuck Efstration (Dacula) 404.656.5105 email@example.com
Vice-Chair Bert Reeves (Marietta) 404.651.7737 firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary Micah Gravley (Douglasville) 404.463.8143 email@example.com
Subcommittee Chair Ed Setzler (Acworth) 404.656.7857 firstname.lastname@example.org
Barry Fleming (Harlem) Chair, Judiciary 404.656.5125 email@example.com
Judiciary Non-Civil Committee Members:
Mandi Ballinger (Canton) 404.656.7153 firstname.lastname@example.org
William Boddie (East Point) 404.656.5058 email@example.com
James Burchett (Waycross) 404.656.0188 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Cooper (Marietta) 404.656.5069 email@example.com
Pam Dickerson (Conyers) Education Comm 404.656.0314 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dar'shun Kendrick (Lithonia) 404.656.0109 email@example.com
Josh McLaurin (Sandy Springs) 404.656.0202 firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin Momtahan (Dallas) 404.656.0177 email@example.com
Steven Sainz (Woodbine) 404.656.0177 firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah Silcox (Sandy Springs) 404.656.3949 email@example.com
Robert Trammell (Luthersville) 404.656.5058 firstname.lastname@example.org
Information posted earlier this week on our Facebook page:
Legislation alert! Thanks to a GLMA member, we were made aware of legislation which has been assigned to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee which would greatly impact materials selection in school libraries and curriculum.
HB 1041 calls for civil and criminal penalties for "distribution of harmful materials to minors" and for the creation of review committees in each school district which "shall review all instructional materials, library materials, and media center materials, to include books and databases, to determine whether they contain materials deemed harmful to minors as provided for in Code Section 16-12-103." This committee is required to meet "at least once per academic year and at any time that new materials are proposed for inclusion in school libraries, classrooms, or media centers. No new materials shall be included in school libraries, classrooms, or media centers unless they have been reviewed by the committee and determined not to contain materials harmful to minors." (It also calls for filtering online content; this is already addressed by federal CIPA regulations.)
A member of the Judiciary Committee has been contacted regarding this bill and updates will be sent following his response. In the meantime, if any of your legislators are either a sponsor of this bill or a member of the committee, please feel free to contact them and express your concerns about this loss of local control (particularly with state requirements already in place for school and district committees for materials selection and challenges).