Weekly Statehouse update: Session hits its midpoint, partisan school boards bill dies
The first half of the legislative session wraps up as the Senate approves bills banning books and criminalizing electronic tracking, while a bill to move to partisan school boards dies in the House.
Here’s what you might have missed this week at the Statehouse.
SB 12: Material harmful to minors
The Senate passed a bill that strips school librarians and teachers of a legal defense against charges that they shared harmful materials with minors. Opponents worry SB 12 will suppress books that deal with difficult historic issues such as slavery and the Holocaust.
The bill’s backers say those aren’t the books they’re trying to get rid of – but shied away from sharing specific examples of what they say is pornography rampant in schools.
SB 161: Unlawful use of a tracking device
Under Senate-approved legislation, tracking someone electronically would be a felony under state law, with some exceptions. SB 161 came out of a case in which a woman was attacked by her ex-boyfriend after he tracked her with a GPS device. Exceptions include family members tracking each other and tracking your own property.
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HB 1428: School board elections
And a bill – HB 1428 – which allowed local communities to decide whether to force school board candidates to use political party labels on the ballot did not get called down for a vote in the House. House Speaker Todd Huston said it’s unlikely the issue will be revived this session.
Find all the bills our statewide team is covering in our bill tracker at ipbs.org/projects/2023billtracker/
Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.