UPDATE 3/21/22: The OLC delivered a letter today to Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp in opposition to Ohio House Bill (HB) 327. Several organization joined our letter of opposition including the Ohio Municipal League, Ohio Mayor’s Alliance, Ohio Township Association, and the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association.
HB 327 Opposition Letter (PDF)
Ohio House Bill (HB) 327 is legislation that seeks to prohibit schools, universities, political subdivisions, and state agencies from teaching, promoting, and offering instruction or training on certain divisive topics. The current version of HB 327 impacts Ohio’s public libraries because it specifically includes political subdivisions. This means it would also impact townships, municipalities, and counties as well.
HB 327 states that no state agency or political subdivision shall offer teaching, instruction, or training on certain concepts to any employees, contractors, staff, individuals, or groups or require them to adopt or believe in the following concepts.
- That individuals of any race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, or national origin are inherently superior or inferior;
- That individuals should be adversely or advantageously treated, or should treat others disrespectfully, on the basis of their race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, or national origin;
- That an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, or national origin is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;
- That individuals, by virtue of their race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, or national origin bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, or national origin;
- That meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by individuals of a particular race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, or national origin to oppress individuals of another race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, or national origin;
- That any individual cannot succeed or achieve equality because of the individual’s race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, or national origin;
- That an individual’s moral character or worth is necessarily determined by the individual’s race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, or national origin;
- Any other concept the promotion of which violates the provisions of any of the concepts described in section 3313.6028, 3345.0216, or 4113.35 of the Revised Code or Title IV or VI of “The Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
Promotion of these concepts is defined as seeking to advance or encourage support of a partisan philosophy or religion by indoctrination, coercion, compulsion, or teaching an individual or group of individuals to accept a set of beliefs in a one-sided, biased, and uncritical manner. Promotion is also defined as inculcating ideas, attitudes, beliefs, and cognitive strategies during the transfer of cultural traditions from one generation to the next with the expectation that such traditions will not be questioned but practiced in the future.
The bill further prohibits state employees, and political subdivisions, from required training on the concepts, and prohibits political subdivisions and state agencies from accepting federal grants or private funding for developing training programs or materials on the specified concepts.
Additionally, libraries would be required to review diversity, equity, and inclusion programs to ensure they comply with the legislation. Libraries would also need to annually distribute a policy, based on Department of Administrative Services (DAS) input, and review, assess compliance, and submit an annual report to DAS on your political subdivision’s compliance.
Call to Action:
We are asking library directors and trustees to reach out to House Speaker Bob Cupp and their state representatives to let them know about our concerns with this legislation.
- Let them know that by including “political subdivisions” in the legislation, they are including Ohio’s public libraries.
- Share your collection development policies and remind them that public libraries are inclusive spaces, open to all and do not discriminate.
- Let them know that libraries provide access to information for all ages.
- Describe the due process procedures you have in place for when the library receives a complaint from the public over materials, and programs, and how these challenges are considered.
- Remind them that libraries are neutral public entities where different voices and information can be shared; and libraries do not endorse the content found in the collections or in resources made accessible through the library.
A legislative directory is available on the OLC website or search for your state representative at ohiohouse.gov. If you have questions, contact Jay Smith, OLC’s Director of Government and Legal Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sub. HB 327 (PDF, 39 pages)