The North Dakota House has passed a bill to remove sexually explicit books from the children’s section of libraries.
The bill has passed the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities. Ten Republicans and all Democrats voted against it, but it still passed with a 70-22 vote.
The legislation describes “explicit sexual material” as “any material which, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest of minors; is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community in North Dakota as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors; and taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.”
The bill also applies to “newsstands or any other business establishment frequented by minors, or where minors are or may be invited as a part of the general public.”
According to a report from Fox News, a librarian, or anyone else, who violates the law could be charged with a felony. They could face up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines if convicted.
Additionally, employees of school districts, state agencies, or public libraries can be charged with a misdemeanor if they are found to be willfully exposing “explicit sexual material” to a child.
Liberals have opposed the bill by claiming that protecting children from sexually explicit materials is “censorship.”
Republican Rep. Vicky Steiner argued that “the media has been headlining this as ‘banning books.’ This bill is putting restrictions on pornographic children’s books currently being purchased by public libraries in taxpayer-funded buildings.”
It will become law after returning to the Senate for concurrence with its amendments and then being signed by Republican Governor Doug Burgum.
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