Is this now the “Freedom to Remove Act?”

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Freedom to Read Act was replaced because of your efforts!

I was stunned! I had to process what I read. What just happened? Yesterday morning in the Assembly Education Committee, the so-called “Freedom to Read Act” had its first public committee hearing since it was pulled from the agenda of the Senate Education Committee on February 15 because of your advocacy efforts.

There were four main points of objection in the bill that the New Jersey Family Policy Center has worked tirelessly since February to oppose in the legislature and expose in the media. I walked into Trenton yesterday and the original 26 page so-called “Freedom to Read Act” was nowhere to be found. It was not amended – it was gone! In its place was a completely new 9-page revised bill (with the same name). Are you ready? Everything we fought against was removed!

1. TEACHERS AND LIBRARIANS HAVING IMMUNITY FROM THE OBSCENITY LAW (Section 13) – Removed!

2. REMOVAL OF LOCAL CONTROL FROM SCHOOL BOARDS (Section 4) – Removed!  

3. SILENCING PARENTS BY THREATENING THEM WITH LEGAL FEES (Section 7) – Removed!

4. GRANTING ‘PROTECTIVE CLASS STATUS’ FOR TEACHERS AND LIBRARIANS (Section 14) – Removed! 

The new revised bill removed all these sections because of your emails, phone calls, and showing up in Trenton and at local school boards. You did it! The bill sponsors heard our collective voice from across the state and realized the original bill was NEVER going to get through the Legislature. We stopped them! 

What does the new 9-page so-called “Freedom to Read Act” do?

It empowers local school boards with full discretion and final decision-making power to remove books from the library and the classroom! The State will require local boards of education to set up a committee to review and possibly recommend removing books. However, neither the committee nor the librarian decides what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. The elected school board members have the final vote on what stays and what is removed. Now that is local control! Furthermore, the false and disingenuous “book banning” narrative collapses because if the bill passes the Murphy Administration is “green lighting” school boards to remove books.

"The Freedom to Read Act" sounds more like "The Freedom to Remove Act!"

We cannot let down our guard or take a complete victory lap yet. However, thanks be to God and to your efforts in responding to our Action Alerts by sending the emails, making the phone calls, placing the door hangers, and sharing our posts on social media. Our advocacy work has made a major difference in a short period of time that caused them not to amend the original Freedom to Read – but to actually replace it.  

Shawn Hyland

Director of Advocacy

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