Library Headlines: SB 571

Note** This post was supposed to be short ‘n sweet in a round up, but apparently I had more to say…

On Tuesday (the 5th), I saw an interesting tweet…

Following it along it was a link to a petition to support libraries in Michigan. Now I typically don’t follow these things, but this is kind of important.

Not for me, but for Average Americans.

Here’s the reason this petition has started circulating:

 If SB 571 becomes law, librarians would be sent to jail for sharing factual information about elections with their communities. Library boards would be fined thousands of dollars of sending out a newsletter if it shares information about what is on your local ballot. We need honest and transparent elections.

Every Library

I looked into what Senate Bill 571 was and this is what I found:

The Act allows a for-profit or nonprofit corporation, a joint stock company, a domestic dependent sovereign, or a labor organization formed under the laws of this or another state or a foreign country to make an expenditure for the establishment and administration of, and solicitation of contributions to, a separate segregated fund to be used for political purposes.

Michigan Legislature

Now, why would this really be a big deal? The problem being found is this:

The Act prohibits contributions received by a committee from being commingled with other funds of an agent of the committee or of any other person. (“Committee” means a person who receives contributions or makes expenditures for the purpose of influencing the action of voters for or against the nomination or election of a candidate, the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question, or the qualification of a new political party, if contributions received or expenditures made total $500 or more in a calendar year.)

– SB 571

This would make sense for sure, but the thing is the accused libraries aren’t influencing anybody to go right or left in the upcoming elections. All the libraries are doing is ensuring that voters know what they’re doing!

Why should you or I care?

This should not be looked down upon as a negative. Libraries were meant to be non-partisan (or at least should be), and even when they’re offering computer classes, cooking classes, daycare facilities, and loaning out power tools, they should also be allowed to decide whether it’s necessary to help the community, at large, how to vote – not who to vote, but how. I just Googled what a USA voting ballot looks like, and every image was more confusing than the last, so if people don’t know how to properly fill them out – that’s how riots start (just saying). I think they [American society] should get as much help as possible before the “big day”.

I’m not writing this to tell you guys that you should sign the petition, because honestly, that’s not what I’m implying, but you should definitely consider it. There is something bigger about this problem, if one state is being attacked for something as helpful as “how to fill out your ballot properly”, than that means the country will be let down by its government for smaller things, and not considering bigger problems than a public library doing its civil duty to ensure new and old generations are doing something properly within their rights.

Do you support this? Do you have something to add? I’m sure I missed something…  Let me know in the comments below 🙂

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About Black ' n Write Reviewer

I'm a junior high librarian finding her way into the lives of her students through the art of literature.
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