Idaho Senate Won’t Vote on House Bill To Fine and Jail Librarians for Obscenity

A bill in Idaho would have imposed legal sanctions on librarians who violate the law. It is no longer possible to provide minors access to content that they deem inappropriate. The state Senate announced March 9 that this matter wouldn’t be given a hearing. 

Current law allows employees at schools, museums and colleges to use their affiliations as an affirmative defense against charges for “disseminating harmful material to minors.” Idaho House Bill 666 would amend that law, making it possible for librarians in Idaho to face $1,000 and the maximum time they can spend in prison for “disseminating harmful material to minors.” 

Original passage of the bill by Idaho House lawmakers was March 7. The bill was originally passed by the Idaho House on March 7. “For many years, I as a parent have been concerned about the obscene and pornographic materials that find their way into our schools and public libraries,” Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt (R–Eagle) During an Idaho House Hearing, according to Idaho Ed News.

Library staff criticized the bill for being too vague and raised concerns about whether they would be held liable to children who check out explicit books or any other harmful materials.

“Does that mean only pornographic materials — materials with sexual content? Does it also refer to materials about violence and guns or materials related to mental health? We walk down the slippery slope of censorship of constitutionally-protected speech when we have a bill like this,” Librarian Erin Kennedy .

This bill also would have prohibited the use of explicit sexual material in state universities. The bill would also have restricted sexually explicit materials in the state’s universities. ReasonAs we have previously covered, the state legislatures are not empowered to limit material in universities. Attempting to prohibit content from colleges is an infringement of academic freedom. 

After the bill sailed through the Idaho House, Idaho Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder (R–Boise) TelledKTVB7: “I don’t see this being picked up by the chamber. It will not be heard in the committee, I don’t see that. It is very appropriate numbered at 666.

As ReasonScott Shackford, a reporter for the Idaho Senate reported that the Idaho Senate had also rejected to vote on the anti-trans bill in the Idaho House.