University of Missouri

47-30: A Resolution to Support the Textbook Transparency Act as Referred to the House Rules Committee

WHEREAS, On October 31, 2007, MSA Senate passed Bill 47-08, stating, “Be it resolved by the Missouri Students Association Senate that the Missouri General Assembly require textbook publishers to disclose the wholesale price and history of revisions to faculty of higher education institutions when marketing new textbooks and supplemental items,” and

WHEREAS, On February 7, 2008, State Representative Jake Zimmerman proposed House Bill 2048 (the “Textbook Transparency Act”) with bipartisan support from more than 40 co-sponsors, including Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley and Minority Floor Leader Paul LeVota, and

WHEREAS, On March 12 the Committee on Higher Education passed House Bill 2048 by a vote of 8 to 0 and referred the bill to the Rules Committee, and

WHEREAS, The House Bill 2048 summary states: “This bill establishes the Textbook Transparency Act which requires textbook publishers to make the wholesale price, revision history, and variety of formats for a textbook available to faculty members at public higher education institutions when the faculty members are choosing textbooks.  The revision history must also be available to students at the point of sale,” and

WHEREAS, The current text of House Bill 2048 requires “The suggested retail price, the estimated wholesale price, or the price at which the publisher makes the products available to the public” to be available “upon request,” and

WHEREAS, The current text of House Bill 2048 requires revision history to be disclosed as “the substantial content revisions for such products made between a current textbook edition and the previous edition, if any,” and “the copyright dates of all previous editions of such college textbook in the preceding ten years, if any,” and

WHEREAS, The current text of House Bill 2048 further requires textbooks sold with supplemental material to be available separately as unbundled items but exempts “integrated textbooks” that “by third-party contractual agreement” may not be unbundled.

THEREFORE, Be it resolved that the Missouri Students Association Senate supports the text of House Bill 2048 as passed by the House Committee on Higher Education on March 12, 2008, and

THEREFORE, Be it further resolved that the “estimated wholesale price” or “price at which the publisher makes the products available to the public” is preferred over the “suggested retail price” to distinguish the roles of publishers and bookstores in setting textbook prices, and

THEREFORE, Be it further resolved that the Department of Student Communications collaborate with the MSA Senate Academic Affairs Committee to create a framework for discussions with Faculty Council that will ensure academic departments are prepared to request textbook prices and revision histories at regular intervals, and

THEREFORE, Be it further resolved that the University Bookstore monitor the volume and cost of “integrated textbooks” in the event that further consideration of such third-party contractual agreements is necessary.

Respectfully submitted,

Jonathan Mays        Craig Stevenson            Jim Kelley
MSA Senate Speaker        ASUM Legislative Director        MSA President