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Bill allowing removal of library board members at local level passes the Senate

The legislation, SB10, passed along party lines on a vote of 26-7.

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On Wednesday, the Senate approved a bill that would allow library board members to be removed by local governing authorities that appointed those members.

The legislation, SB10, passed along party lines on a vote of 26-7. The bill now moves to the House and marks a key advancement in the Republican agenda to try and control the type of books that are allowed in libraries specifically LGBTQ+ books.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Chris Elliott, stated the bill was merely about giving “local control” to the individuals.

However, Elliott has been quoted in Yellowhammer News saying this was also about preventing an agenda that was not “representative of the values” of Alabama citizens.

“You find that these types of boards are infiltrated by folks that are not representative of the values of the people of the state of Alabama,” Elliott said. “Our mayors, our city council people, our county commissioners, and those folks should have the ability to remove board members that are pushing this agenda that’s inconsistent with what their constituents want.”

Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, said the bill was clearly about censorship of books and warned that this was not Nazi Germany or apartheid South Africa or American chattel slavery.

“This is not Nazi Germany, where they burned books in the streets,” Singleton said. “This is not about apartheid where they made sure certain families did not have certain things they could read. And if they were caught with certain readings then they were put in jail. This is not slavery period where families were caught reading the Bible sometimes their homes were burned. Free the books.” 

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Singleton added an amendment to the bill that requires library boards to submit an annual report detailing the board’s membership and, “any actions the board has taken regarding the review or removal of items in their collection during the previous 12 months.” This report would be submitted to the governor, speaker of the House and president pro tempore of the Senate by Dec. 31.

Another amendment by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, provides that library board members can only be removed by a two-thirds vote by the appointing authority.

Originally, the bill only stated a simple majority was needed to remove a board member. 

Following the bill’s passage, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth released a statement underlining the political purposes this potential law could be used to achieve. 

“The responsibility of determining which material is appropriate for children and reflects our traditional Alabama values lies with those who serve on public library boards, and if they are unwilling, unable, or ill-suited to carry out that important task, they should be removed and replaced,” Ainsworth stated.


Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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