Free speech is under attack in Tennessee. This legislative session, we have been flooded with bills that actively restrict our freedom of speech in Tennessee, including bills that:
- Limit books available at public libraries for minors. SB2896/HB2721 would require each public library to establish a “parental library review board” consisting of adult community members elected by the local legislative body to decide what material minors under the age of 18 are allowed access to within the library. This means that children would have access to public resources restricted based on the opinions and beliefs of board members. If passed, any library staff person that refuses to implement this bill risks fines and imprisonment.
- Restrict families visiting incarcerated loved ones from sharing photographs. If approved, SB2534/HB 2653 would restrict non-incarcerated persons from sharing photos they lawfully take in public or private state penal facilities. This bill restricts individuals’ ability to commemorate their time visiting loved ones and sharing it with their friends, family and community.Declare media outlets CNN and The Washington Post to be “fake news”. HJR 779 is an opinion-laden resolution that attempts to stigmatize particular news outlets because a politician disagreed with some of their content, interfering with the right to free speech and freedom of the press.
- Limit access to information for minors in public school. SB1813/HB1855 would filter or block access on school computers to material deemed “harmful,” among other things. This vague and overly broad wording creates an avenue for the government to discriminate against particular viewpoints, restricting any sites they deem inappropriate, from LGBTQ educational sites to religious education sites, and beyond. This bill needs to be amended to narrow in scope so that LEAs don’t have broad latitude to define what is “harmful” to minors.
TAKE ACTION: Tell your representatives to oppose or amend measures that restrict your free speech.