In the past three years, legislation relating to open education has been introduced in more than 20 U.S. states. Since 2015, SPARC has worked with our partner Foresight Law + Policy to track state-level bills and policies that relate to OER, textbook costs, and digital course materials.
A list of bills relevant to the U.S. SPARC community is provided below. States are listed if they either have existing policies or have activity in the current legislative year. A full dataset of all OER-related state legislative activity since 2015 is published in GitHub. Please note that this page is only for the purpose of tracking legislation, and does not imply SPARC’s endorsement. For information about SPARC’s policy positions, visit our Policy & Advocacy page.
Given the increasing activity at the state level, SPARC is expanding the support we provide to our members in this arena. In addition to keeping this tracker up to date each week, SPARC will provide action alerts to members on key bills, and if requested, additional policy analysis, consultation on advocacy strategy, and support with crafting testimony.
OER Policy State-by-State
No relevant bills were filed in 2017.
- SB 265 (2015) created the University of Arkansas eVersity (an entirely online institution of higher education). This bill requires that open educational resources be utilized to support course delivery to students.
Adjourned on 9/15/17
- SB727 (inactive): Innovative Pricing: allows public postsecondary educational institutions to adopt policies to allow for the use of innovative pricing techniques and payment options for textbooks and other instructional materials. This includes bulk pricing arrangements that allow students to purchase materials or texts delivered: digitally, through a technology that is, or the license of which is, required to only be used within a course, in a print format. Innovative pricing techniques may only be adopted if it would actually reduce the cost of textbooks or other instructional materials. Last Action: Status set to inactive after session adjourned.
- AB97/SB72 (2017): an appropriations bill that allows funding to be used for increased services for high-needs students, which may include the development of open educational resources and zero-textbook-cost degrees that reduce costs for students. Community college districts utilizing resources for this purpose are encouraged to first develop open educational resources and zero-textbook-cost degrees for courses that are transferable to other schools within the state.
- SB1359 (2015): Requires each campus of the California Community Colleges and the California State University, and would request each campus of the University of California, to identify in the online version of the campus course schedule its courses that exclusively use digital course materials, as specified, and communicate to students that the course materials for these courses are free of charge and therefore not required to be purchased.
- SB1052 (2012): Established the California Open Education Resources Council. The bill required the Council to determine a list of 50 lower division courses in the public postsecondary segments for which high-quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials would be developed or acquired. The bill required the council to review and approve developed open source materials, promote strategies for production, access, and use, and regularly solicit and consider, feedback from each of the statewide student associations.
- SB1053 (2012): Established the California Digital Open Source Library, under the administration of the California State University, in coordination with the California Community Colleges, for the purpose of housing open source materials while providing an Internet Web-based way for students, faculty, and staff to easily find, adopt, utilize, or modify course materials for little or no cost. The bill required that materials in the library bear a creative commons attribution license that allows others to use, distribute, and create derivative works based upon the digital material while still allowing the authors or creators of the material to receive credit for their efforts.
- AB798 (2015): Creates the Open Educational Resources Adoption Incentive Fund to provide incentives and reward campus, staff, and faculty efforts to accelerate the adoption of open educational resources. The purpose of this bill was to reduce textbook costs for college students and encourage faculty to accelerate the adoption of lower cost, high-quality open educational resources.
- Adjourned 5/10/17
- SB258 (enacted): Creates the open educational resources council in the Department of Higher Education. The Department is required to contract with an entity to evaluate the existing use of OER by public institutions of higher education and consider the options for and obstacles to increasing the use of OER. The council must facilitate the work of the contracting entity, and, taking into account the findings of the contracting entity, recommend initiatives to expand the use of OER, resulting in cost savings and other educational benefits for students enrolled
- Adjourned 6/7/17
- HB7235 (dead): Establishes an OER council to identify courses for which OER will be developed;establishes a competitive grant program for OER creation and adoption; accept, review, and approve Creative Commons attribution license applications for the development of OER, the conversion of printed resources to OER; administer a standardized review and approval process for the development of OER; establish a state-sponsored digital clearinghouse to store and collect resources; and promote strategies for the production, use and access of resources.
- SB948 (enacted): Authorizes and encourages institutions of higher education in the state to establish guidelines to implement programs that reduce the cost of textbooks and other educational resources for students. This is a “digital discount” bill supported by publishers to promote partnerships between publishers and institutions. Similar bills have been filed in other states.
- HB 6117 (2015): Established an open-source textbook pilot program to assess the use of high-quality digital open-source textbooks and to promote the use of those textbooks. Requires a report with analysis of the cost savings to students for courses using an open-source textbook instead of a traditional college-level textbook and any potential barriers to the effective use of open-source textbooks by students and faculty. The bill also established a task force to study best practices re: open educational resources.
- Adjourned 5/05/17
- HB929/SB374 (dead): requires the governing boards of higher education institutions to identify strategies to promote college affordability by evaluating the costs of textbooks and instructional materials and requires institutions to post a list of textbooks for each required course. It also directs the State Board of Community Colleges and the Board of Governors to adopt textbook and instructional materials affordability policies, procedures, and guidelines. These policies shall address, among other topics, the extent to which an open-access textbook or instructional material is available, and the participation by course instructors and departments in the development, adaptation, and review of open-access textbooks. Last Action: HB929 withdrawn from consideration, SB374 vetoed by governor.
- HB 7019 (2016): Each Florida College System Institution and state university shall adopt textbook and instructional materials affordability policies, procedures and guidelines in order to minimize the costs of textbooks. This includes course instructors using open-access textbooks, where possible and instructors are encouraged to develop, adapt, and review open-access textbooks especially in high-demand general education courses.
- Adjourned 5/31/17
- SB1838 (dead): Allows universities and community colleges to establish a digital discount program that complies with federal regulations. Last Action: On Senate calendar for third reading.
Adjourned 6/18/17. No relevant bills were filed.
- HCR 80 (2016): established the Virtual Library Study Commission to conduct a study and make recommendations regarding the development of a statewide virtual library – OERs representing the development of shared online accessible textbook collections, can bring educational costs down considerably while making efficient use of tax dollars
- Adjourned 4/10/17
- SB424/HB967 (enacted): includes $100,000 in general funds for a grant for the Maryland Open Source Textbook Initiative at the University System of Maryland. These funds may be used to: award grants to support and promote the creation of openly licensed educational resources and reimburse expenses incurred in operating the Open Source Textbook Initiative.
- Will adjourn on 11/15/17
- S714 (active): This resolve creates a special commission to investigate and study the college textbook industry. This shall include an examination of the costs of purchasing textbooks and study materials, reviewing information concerning offering a choice of lower cost texts, including digital texts, and exploring the effective use of E-textbooks. Last Action: hearing conducted in Joint Committee on Higher Education on 4/13/17.
- S304 (active): A special commission is hereby established to study and report on how to maximize the use of digital and open textbooks for K-12 and public colleges and universities. Last Action: Referred to committee on Education 1/23/17.
- H4200 (2016): Language was inserted into the FY 2017 appropriations bill authorizing the Department of Higher Education to establish suggested guidelines and protocols in accordance with 34 CFR 668.164(c)(2) to encourage and assist colleges and universities with the implementation of programs which reduce the cost of textbooks and other educational materials. This was language was circulated by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to legislators in many different states.
- Adjourned 5/22/17. No relevant bills were filed.
- HF 2749 (2016): $100,000 appropriation for the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities for programs on system campuses that promote adoption of open textbooks. Programs must focus on review, creation, and promotion of new or existing open textbooks and on saving money for students while meeting the academic needs of faculty. This would also provide for an appropriation to expand and promote the open textbook library to faculty across the state.
- Will adjourn on 1/9/18
- A2653/S2619 (active): requires institutions of higher education to develop open textbooks available to students at no charge. Within 180 days of the effective date of this act, higher education institutes are required to submit a plan to the Secretary of Higher Education to expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students enrolled in the institution. Last Action: A2653 referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee 2/18/16, S2619 passed Senate and referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee 12/19/16.
- A4487 (active): requires institutions of higher education to develop plan to offer open textbooks to students. Public and independent institutions of higher education, after consultation with faculty members, shall submit a plan to expand the use of open textbooks and commercial digital learning materials in order to achieve savings for students. Last Action: referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee 1/12/17.
- A4690 (active): requires institutions of higher education to develop plan to offer open textbooks to students. Public and independent institutions of higher education, after consultation with faculty members, shall submit a plan to expand the use of open textbooks and commercial digital learning materials in order to achieve savings for students. Last Action: referred to Assembly Higher Education Committee 3/16/17.
- Adjourned 6/21/17
- S6608 (dead): Reduces the cost of textbooks and course materials for students of institutions of higher education by requiring every institution of higher education to adopt policies that allow the use of innovative pricing techniques and payment options for textbooks, supplemental materials, and other course materials or textbooks.
- A40 (dead): authorizes the trustees of the state university of New York to create an academic review board for the review of all textbooks sold, purchased, or used for academic purposes on all state university of New York Campuses – the goal is to serve as an interface between the publishing industry and the management of the independent bookstores and to explore the issue of textbook costs on all campuses.
- A1685 (dead): funds libraries, including the New York online virtual electronic library. Funds shall be made available for strengthening the statewide library services that support the development and maintenance of the statewide digital library and electronic access to information. Further, funding is also available for the establishment of a program of statewide access to electronic information by public and nonprofit independent colleges and universities with libraries.
- A5899 (dead): authorizes the regents to create a task force to review the issue of textbook cost and ways to enhance the academic role and delivery of course materials including consideration of used books, textbook rentals, custom materials, the use of open access textbooks, digital textbooks, print on demand technologies, and through greater collaboration between college bookstores and libraries.
- A7221/S2444 (dead): requires the Board of trustees of the State University of New York and the City University of New York to conduct a joint study and report on the availability and accessibility of alternative high-quality, lower cost course resources in lieu of traditional textbooks, which may include open education resources, online textbooks and other related educational materials.
- A8296 (dead): establishes the New York state open education resources council and New York state open source digital library. The purpose of this bill is to encourage faculty to accelerate the adoption of lower cost, high-quality, open educational resources. This would authorize campuses and community colleges to adopt open educational resources adoption incentive program campus plans and apply for grants to implement such plans.
- Will adjourn on 12/31/17. No relevant bills were filed in 2017.
- HB49 (2017): requires that no later than June 30, 2018, all state institutions of higher education that are located in the same region of the state to enter into an agreement providing for the creation of a compact. This compact, among other things, shall identify, develop, and implement shared curriculum resources to promote educational pathways that minimize the time required to earn a degree. This may include curriculum delivered using open educational resources and online formats.
- Adjourned 7/10/17. No relevant bills were filed.
- HB2729 (2017): requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to work regularly with public universities and community colleges to analyze and evaluate effectiveness of previously adopted open educational resources and to increase number of open educational resources used in courses.
- Will adjourn on 12/31/17
- HB712 (active): Providing for Availability of Electronic Resources at Institutions of Higher Education: This bill requires that no later than Jan. 1, 2020, any entity that publishes textbooks offered for sale at an institution of higher education shall make the textbooks available, in whole or in part, for sale in electronic format. The electronic version of any textbook shall contain the same content as the printed version and may be copy-protected. Last Action: referred to Education 3/6/17.
- Adjourned 6/1/17
- S262 (dead): amends the current law to require a textbook policy for public institutions of higher education that is intended to help minimize college textbook costs. This bill requires institutions to provide faculty with information and tools for selection of textbooks, including pricing information and availability of alternative formats for course materials.
- Adjourned 5/29/17
- HB341 (dead): would require textbook publishers to make college textbooks available in digital formats no later than January 1, 2022.
- SB810 (2017): requires that each institution of higher education compile a course schedule indicating, among other things, whether the textbook required for each course is an open educational resource. Institutions shall make reasonable efforts to disseminate information to students, including the availability of courses and sections of courses that require or recommend only open educational resources. Further, this bill would establish the open educational resources grant program to encourage faculty at institutions to adopt and develop courses that use only open educational resources.
- Adjourned 2/25/17. No relevant bills were filed in 2017.
- HB2262 (2017): Established the Online Virginia Network Authority and requires each public institution of higher education and each consortium of public institutions of higher education that offers online courses, online degree programs, or online credential programs to offer courses, degree programs, or credential programs through the Authority. The Authority shall, to the extent practicable, manage and reduce program costs by reducing textbook costs through open access.
- Adjourned 4/23/17
- HB1375 (enacted): adds a section that requires community and technical colleges to indicate the cost of any required textbook or other course material to students in the online course description used during registration. The goal of this bill is to incentivize faculty to use resources available on the open course library by informing students of a textbook’s cost when they register for a class.
- HB1253 (dead): seeks to make higher education more affordable by providing incentives for the use of open source instructional materials. This bill would give anyone who publishes or creates open source instructional materials to be used by students attending private or public institutions of higher education in the state the ability to be eligible for a tax credit.
- HB1561 (dead): the student achievement council shall administer the open educational resources grant pilot program for the four-year institutions of higher education. A grant received shall be used to support faculty to adopt or create open educational resources for the purpose of reducing student’s’ cost of attendance. The Washington state institute for public policy is also required to conduct a study on the cost of textbooks and course materials and the use of open educational resources at four-year institutions of higher education across the state.
- HB1768 (dead): creates the open educational resources pilot grant program within the student achievement council to create a competitive grant program for the public four-year institutions of higher education to promote, adapt, and create open educational resources and reduce students’ costs of attendance. Six grants shall be awarded for the purpose of promoting the development, adaptation, and use of open educational resources.