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IEA Members Help Turn the Tide on Bad Library Bill

January 27, 2024

Idaho Education Association members played a key role in the withdrawal of legislation widely criticized for its overzealous attempt to allow patrons to sue libraries over materials they find objectionable.

House Bill 384 was withdrawn by its sponsor, Rep. Jaron Crane (R-Nampa), just three days after it was endorsed by the House State Affairs Committee on Jan. 15, the same day as IEA’s 2024 Lobby Day, when nearly 170 IEA members were at the Statehouse. IEA members and other opponents of the controversial bill filled two overflow rooms to deliver and listen to testimony on the bill.

Despite the emotional testimony, the panel endorsed the bill by a vote of 11-2.

According to Rep. Brent Crane (R-Nampa), chairman of the House State Affairs Committee and brother of the bill’s sponsor, the bill was withdrawn in favor of a compromise bill negotiated with Sen. Geoff Schroeder (R-Mountain Home), who had introduced a competing bill laying out less controversial procedures for challenging library content.

The new compromise bill has yet to be introduced.

 

“The passionate testimony of IEA members and librarians helped lawmakers understand that there must be a better approach than what House Bill 384 offered,” said Chris Parri, IEA’s political director. “From all indications, this compromise is one IEA members and other librarians feel much better about.”

 The Idaho Library Association, which worked with IEA in opposing HB 384, played a role in drafting the new legislation and will not oppose the bill.

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