State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) recently pre-filed a bill that clarifies the right of municipal and county authorities to appoint and dismiss local library board members at their discretion.
Elliott's bill comes as libraries have taken center stage in the culture wars, both in Alabama and nationwide, for providing sexually explicit and ideologically driven reading material to minors.
While there have been many attempts to address the issue at the state level through the Alabama Public Library Service (APLS), residents across the state have approached the local library boards, asking them to relocate or remove specific books.
Residents have also called on their city councils and county commissions to address the issue.
Local library boards are typically appointed by a county commission, city council or a combination of the two.
In some cases, although local authorities appoint local library board members, there has been confusion about what authority the governing bodies have in regulating libraries or removing library board members.
In Prattville, the Autauga County Commission officially requested an attorney general opinion to clarify the body's scope of authority in regulating libraries or removing members.
Senate Bill 10 (SB10) would clarify in Alabama's legal code that local library board members serve at the discretion of the appointing authority and can be removed by a majority vote of that authority. It also clarifies technical language that board members will be appointed by whatever governing authority established the library.
"Each library board member shall be appointed to a four-year term and shall serve at the pleasure of their respective appointing authority and may be removed at any time by a majority vote of the appointing authority," the bill reads.
SB10 would also change the staggered term lengths of board members by making terms a blanket four years.
Alabama's 2024 regular session is slated to begin in February.
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