21′ SB1034/HB1513 – Cochran/Bell

Bill Description

Under this bill, if there is an electronic version of textbooks adopted by an LEA or public charter school available, then the electronic version of the textbook must, by January 1, 2022, be stored on an electronic database maintained by, and accessible to the public at, each public university's main campus library. This bill requires that the database be available for the public to review the textbooks adopted by LEAs and public charter schools during the library's regular business hours.

This bill prohibits:

(1) A person reviewing a textbook stored on the electronic database from copying any part of a textbook; and

(2) The university from charging a person to view the textbook.

This bill requires the state board of education, in consultation with the Tennessee higher education commission, to develop or approve the database required by this bill. The state board may contract with a third party to develop the database. The database must include copyright protections for textbooks stored in the database. This bill requires that textbooks remain in the database until the textbook ceases to be used by an LEA or public charter school and requires each public university to add or remove a textbook from the database in accordance with this provision.

ON APRIL 14, 2021, THE HOUSE ADOPTED AMENDMENT #1 AND PASSED HOUSE BILL 1513, AS AMENDED.

AMENDMENT #1 rewrites this bill. Under present law governing textbooks and instructional materials:

(1) Copies of all textbooks and instructional materials bid shall be filed with the secretary of the commission on or before a date specified by the commission, but no later than the date of the start of the review by the advisory panels; and

(2) In addition to the finished textbooks and instructional materials required to be filed with the secretary of the commission, publishers must make all textbooks and instructional materials proposed for adoption available for inspection by LEAs and the public online, which may include access via the state textbook depository's website. The online inspection shall allow inspection of both the textbook or instructional materials and all accompanying manuals, workbooks and other ancillary materials. The commission must require that a publisher in its bid document agree to provide complete online copies of the textbooks or instructional materials bid during the review process by the advisory panels, but in no case must the textbooks or instructional materials be available for less than 90 days.

This amendment revises the provisions described above in (2) as follows:

(1) Adds that the content, including pictures and graphs, of the textbooks, instructional materials, and supplementary materials that are made available for online inspection must be in finished form and must be the same as what would be distributed to public schools;

(2) Clarifies that the publisher must agree to provide complete online copies for a period of no less than 90 days;

(3) Adds that textbooks and instructional materials approved by the state board of education for local adoption must remain accessible to the public pursuant to the following:

(A) A publisher that submits textbooks or instructional materials for adoption must provide the department of education with a link to the textbooks or instructional materials that the public and advisory panel members can use to access the textbooks or instructional materials. The department must post the links provided by publishers on the department's website;

(B) A publisher of textbooks or instructional materials approved by the state board for local adoption must provide each LEA with a link to the textbooks or instructional materials that the public can use to access the textbooks or instructional materials. Each LEA must: post, on the LEA's website, the links provided by publishers for textbooks or instructional materials adopted by the LEA; or identify, on the LEA's website, the name and publisher of textbooks or instructional materials adopted by the LEA and provide a link to the state textbook depository's website where the textbooks or instructional materials may be accessed; and

(C) The links provided pursuant to this item (3) must remain active for all textbooks and instructional materials approved by the state board for so long as the textbooks and instructional materials are approved for local adoption or adopted by the LEA, respectively;

(4) Adds that publisher of textbooks or instructional materials for which a waiver is granted to an LEA pursuant to present law must provide the respective LEA with a link to the textbooks or instructional materials that the public can use to access the textbooks or instructional materials. Each LEA must:

(A) Post, on the LEA's website, the link provided by the publisher; or

(B) Identify, on the LEA's website, the name and publisher of the textbooks or instructional materials for which the LEA received a waiver and provide: a link to the state textbook depository's website where the textbooks or instructional materials may be accessed by the public; or instructions for how the public may access the textbooks or instructional materials at the central office of the LEA's local board of education; and

(5) Specifies that the links provided pursuant to item (4) must remain active for all textbooks or instructional materials for so long as the textbooks or instructional materials are adopted.

TLRC Position

TLRC approves this legislation. We would like it to go even further by making the material available online to anyone with broadband and a device. If the material is suitable for our children, it ought to be safe for all the citizens of Tennessee to see.

TLRC Observed Process

This bill passed without dissent.

Vote Result: Passed

Score: +5

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