Children’s School and Library Protection Act heading to governor’s desk

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 2:15 AM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —Legislation restricting children’s access to “harmful and obscene material” in public libraries is heading to Governor Brad Little’s desk.

After a heated debate, House lawmakers voted favor of House Bill 314. The bill called the Children’s School and Library Protection Act requires public school libraries and community libraries to take “reasonable steps: in restricting children’s access to obscene or harmful material.

A school or public library that fails to take reasonable steps could be subject to a $2,500 civil fine.

Those who voted in opposition to the bill felt some of the language in the bill was vague and could be interrupted differently by various groups. Twin Falls Rep. Greg Lanting felt the confusing language could put a lot of stress on local libraries.

“The first thing they (Twin Falls Library) are going to do is suspend all library cards for anyone 17 or younger. They don’t feel like they have a choice. The second thing they are going to do is install cameras throughout the library at a pretty good expense that could of gone toward books, because they can’t take the chance of someone taking a book out of the adult section and putting it in the children’s section. Then they turn around and get sued,” Lanting said.

The bill passed 42 to 26, with only Republicans supporting the legislation. Those that voted in favor of the legislation admonished lawmakers who suggested the bill was so broadly written that it could restrict access to the bible.

Supporters said the bill intends to protect minors from obscene and harmful material that can cause lasting damage to a child’s development.

“I would rather have my children exposed to critical race theory because I believe I can unteach that. It would be hard, but I believe I can unteach that. I rather that than have them exposed to the sex that we are talking about. The pictures and sex acts in the library, because I do not I believe I can unteach that,” Rep. Barbara Ehardt said,

The bill passed the Senate on Thursday 26 to 9. Not a single Democrat voted for the legislation in the Senate or the House