EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Utah lawmakers consider proposal to make removing books from school libraries easier

Nov 11, 2023, 4:00 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah lawmakers are considering significant changes to Utah’s law that allows for books to be removed from school libraries. The proposal includes lowering the threshold for when a book can be banned statewide and would allow lawmakers to challenge books in the districts they represent. 

KSL TV obtained a copy of a draft proposal prepared for the Education Interim Committee along with a summary of the bill prepared for the members on the committee.  

The bill is being run by Rep. Ken Ivory who declined an interview.  

The chair of the Education Committee, Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, said while the draft is subject to change before next Wednesday’s interim meeting, she said Ivory’s bill was “trying to create some additional clarity” because districts were thinking that books reviewed as pornography still had to be reviewed for additional artistic value.

“And that’s not the case,” Pierucci said.

House Minority Leader Angela Romero, who’s also on the committee, said she has a “problem, a fundamental problem with the bill as it currently stands.”

Removing books statewide 

According to the draft proposal, if “more than two school districts or more than five charter schools” review and deem a book as “objective sensitive material,” then all school districts statewide must also remove that book.  

In the October interim meeting, lawmakers were looking at the threshold being more than four districts and nine charter schools to trigger a statewide ban.  

There are 41 school districts across the state. 

“The hope was that you get a better demographic across the state,” Pierucci said.”It is saying, if three districts have gone through, and they viewed this as criminal porn, then we’re gonna need to get it removed and off the shelves. So, I think it’s a lot better, it should be more effective in streamlining this process, when you consider that before, it needed to be district by district by district.” 

Similar to what’s in Utah’s sensitive materials law currently, only those connected to the school or district can challenge a book. The newest proposed draft adds one key difference …

Please read Lindsay Aert’s complete story at KSLTV.com.

 

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Utah lawmakers consider proposal to make removing books from school libraries easier