BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A pre-filed bill aims to give Louisiana parish governments more control over public library boards.
House Bill No. 25, authored by state representatives Paul Hollis and Beryl Amedee, aims to give governing authorities the power to “regulate and oversee” library boards and its officers and employees and to conduct oversight by creating separate panels, commissions or boards.
The bill proposes that board members serve at the pleasure of the governing authority, meaning members could be removed at any time. Current law requires board members to serve staggered five-year terms.
Board rules and regulations can’t be inconsistent with state law nor inconsistent with parish or municipal ordinances, according to the proposed bill.
State Rep. Ray Garofalo said Monday that he received an opinion from Attorney General Jeff Landry stating that appointing authorities can remove library board members “at any time.”
“This opinion does not completely resolve the issues that are concerning citizens throughout the state, but it is a step in the right direction,” Garofalo said. “I will be working with legislative colleagues during the upcoming Legislative Session to further address these very important issues.
The attorney general is actively seeking to put restrictions on certain books children have access to in libraries. A bill requiring public libraries to have a policy limiting children’s access to sexually explicit material has been filed.
Landry released a report on the state’s public libraries last week which offered solutions to prevent children from accessing material deemed inappropriate. He said the proposed solutions are not about banning books or censorship, but “protecting the innocence of children in this state.”
Click here to read the “Protecting Innocence” report.
The regular legislative session in Louisiana begins Monday, April 10.