Illinois Gov expected to sign bill withholding state funds from institutions that ban books

The Hill – May 3, 2023

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) is expected to sign a bill that would withhold state funds from institutions that ban books amid nationwide efforts to pull some titles from shelves.

“Illinois is one step closer to preventing book banning in Illinois libraries,” said Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias.

“Under this bill, we can support our state’s libraries and librarians and protect them against attempts to ban, remove or restrict access to books and resources,” he said.

The state’s H.B. 2789 would require libraries to adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights — which “indicates materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval,” according to the proposed text — or develop their own such statement against book banning in order to be eligible for state grants.

The bill has cleared the state legislature and now heads to the governor’s desk. Pritzker has previously said he supports the bill, according to the secretary of State’s office.

“Banning books is a devastating attempt to erase our history and the authentic stories of many. Students across this state deserve to see themselves reflected in the pages of stories that teach and entertain. I’m proud to support House Bill 2789 and ensure that Illinois’ libraries remain sources of knowledge, creativity, and fact,” Pritzker said in a March release.

The proposed legislation comes amid a noted surge of book-banning attempts nationwide.

“Our nation’s libraries have been under attack for too long—they are bastions of knowledge and proliferate the spread of ideas. That is why I am so proud that my measure to prevent the banning of books passed in the senate today,” said Illinois state Sen. Laura Murphy, one of the bill’s sponsors.

But Republican Illinois state Sen. Jason Plummer, according to the state Senate’s GOP, said “it’s offensive to the principles of good government to threaten to take away public funds from the very people whose taxes pay for these grants just because certain politicians may not agree with their beliefs.”