Indiana lawmakers forgo bill restricting school library materials

The Indiana State Legislature struck down a bill on March 9 that would have prevented students from accessing materials containing what the bill’s proponents deemed controversial topics in school libraries. 

House Bill 1369, authored by state Rep. Bob Morris (R), originally aimed to modify current sentencing guidelines for inmates. The school libraries provision was eventually added as an effort by Republican lawmakers to preserve aspects of recently defeated education bills put forth this legislative session. 

For Indiana Republican legislators, increasing parental access to curriculum materials has been a top priority to prevent schools from teaching what the lawmakers consider to be divisive concepts, such as critical race theory, according to the Associated Press

Democratic lawmakers, including state Rep. Tonya Pfaff, expressed concern that the school libraries provision would institute what they described as a backdoor book ban.

House members passed HB 1369 with the school libraries provision by a 65-32 vote, consistent along party lines. The Senate, however, defeated the bill by a vote of 21-29.