GOP Bill Targeting School Libraries and Students’ Freedom to Read Will Have Public Hearing Today

MADISON, Wis. — This morning, a committee of the Wisconsin Senate will hold a public hearing on a Republican-authored bill (Senate Bill 597 / 598) that interferes in the operations of local school libraries and allows legislators to broadly overstep in communication between school librarians, students, and parents.

According to A Better Wisconsin Together Communications Director Lucy Ripp, the bill is another in a long line of GOP-authored bills that are focused on all the wrong priorities for Wisconsin families.

“Instead of spending time and resources on real issues facing Wisconsin families and students, like making child care more affordable or ensuring Wisconsin schools are fully funded, state Republicans are continuing their efforts to meddle in personal and educational decisions they have no business in,” said Ripp. “This time with a bill that unjustly scrutinizes school libraries, imposes unwarranted burdens on local librarians, and impedes upon Wisconsin students’ freedom to read.”

Notably, in 2023 alone, Republicans in the state legislature have introduced bills that would:

  • Ban books from schools and put individual teachers at risk of prosecution if said books are not banned;
  • Let politicians decide what school sports Wisconsin students can play;
  • Make it easier for right-wing groups and others to sue schools and teachers over what is taught in public schools.

In the 2021-22 session, the GOP majority passed legislation – vetoed by Gov. Evers – that would have literally imposed a list of banned words that could not be used by teachers in school classrooms.

Call your legislator today at 1-800-362-9472 and demand they ditch their misplaced priorities – like partisan-motivated attacks on public schools – and start working on real solutions to issues facing Wisconsin families.

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A Better Wisconsin Together is a state-based research and communications hub for progressives and is an affiliate of ProgressNow.