Temporary injunction against HB 900. | TCTA
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Temporary injunction against HB 900.

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On Aug. 31, federal judge Alan D. Albright of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas announced that he will grant a temporary injunction against the implementation of HB 900, which requires vendors of library materials to public schools to review all materials sold to schools and identify the ones that contain sexually explicit or sexually relevant content.

A lawsuit brought by book vendors and associations of authors and publishers alleges that HB 900 violates the free speech provisions of the First Amendment as well as the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Among the arguments made are that the new law compels the plaintiffs to rate books as sexually explicit or sexually relevant when they may disagree with that rating. The plaintiffs cite a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that a state may not prohibit a website designer from refusing to develop websites for the marriages of gay couples, as it is unconstitutional for the state to compel someone to speak a message with which the person disagrees.

The plaintiffs also assert that the law constitutes a prior restraint on speech and is unconstitutionally vague, among other arguments. A temporary injunction means that the law will not go into effect and that a full trial will be held to determine the plaintiff’s claims. It is likely that the office of the Texas Attorney General will appeal to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule the temporary injunction.