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CA college free textbooks bills approved by state Senate

Desks in a classroom are shown in this undated file photo.

May 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The California Senate approved two separate bills that would provide students with free textbooks online.

The bills would require the state to put out bids to create the open-source material for the top 50 college classes. It would also allow students to buy printed copies of those textbooks at a significantly reduced cost.

The bills' backer, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, says publishers currently charge "exorbitant" prices for the materials. He says the cheaper alternative would help offset soaring tuition and fees.

The American Publishers Association opposes the bills, saying publishers have already put many textbooks online at lower costs.

SB1052 passed 32-2, while a companion bill, SB1053, passed on a 33-2 vote Wednesday. Both bills now go to the Assembly.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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