The Utah State Board of Education could conduct a hearing on whether a school library book or other materials should be removed statewide under a compromise between state lawmakers that led to final passage of HB29 on Wednesday.

The House voted 52-18 to approve the compromise legislation.

A conference committee of Utah Senate and House of Representatives members agreed to language that gives the state school board the option of holding a hearing after three school districts or two school districts and five charter schools determine the materials are pornographic or indecent, which under HB29, triggers removal of the materials statewide.

The board could decide not to hold a hearing, which means the book or materials would be removed from collections statewide.

The board could overturn the district and charter boards’ findings, which means the book would not be subject to statewide removal but the decisions of the districts and charters to remove a book would remain in place for them.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, HB29 is a clarifying measure and will help ensure that “objective sensitive material” is quickly removed from Utah public schools.

A substituted version of HB29 passed the Utah Senate on Friday but after it was returned to the House with amendments, the House refused to concur with changes to the bill made in a Senate committee, which resulted in the appointment of a conference committee.

In Senate debate last week, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said the legislation bans illicit pornography from being available in public school libraries.

“Illicit pornography is often graphic, X-rated descriptions or depictions of sexual acts that are designed to arouse and excite people. We’re not trying to ban books simply because sexuality is mentioned or a sexual encounter is briefly described,” Weiler said.

The legislation “is not an attempt to censor material for the sake of convenience or because the government disagrees with the materials’ message. It does not ban any content because it explores racism, violence or alternative lifestyles or other controversial subject matters,” he explained.

Under the latest version of HB29, school board members would also have standing to challenge books.

The Utah Legislature passed legislation two years ago that established a process to challenge school library books or other materials.

“That led to some ludicrous results where people were challenging the Quran, the Bible and other books of scripture, not because they were pornographic per se, but because they wanted to make a mockery of this legislation,” Weiler said,