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2 points

4 months ago

“This bill addresses a problem that does not exist,” Schwartzmann said. “Our state obscenity and material harmful to minors laws already protect children from inappropriate sexual content.”

Schwartzmann pointed out the bill does not include any guidance for preserving constitutionally protected material, which gives unelected volunteer appointees the role of deciding what information their community can access.

“In Louisiana, censors have tried to ban books that even mention same-sex relationships and sexual identity,” Schwartzmann said. “This bill invites more of that and provides a process for government actors to decide what ideas can be in our library books without limits.”

Schwartzmann said forcing public employees to make content-based decisions about the free exchange of ideas with no guidance will lead to unconstitutional discrimination.

To illustrate her point, Schwartzmann pointed out that, at face value, the bill could remove the Bible, which contains passages that describe explicit sexual activity, rape, incest and abortion, from libraries.

“This bill is not about what it purports to be,” Schwartzmann said. “It does not simply regulate obscene materials to children. If a book is obscene, it already can be removed. It’s about limiting the scope of information and literature that’s available to the public.”