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HB314, S1187 & S1188

NO, these bills are NOT good for Idaho Children

HB314, S1187 & S1188 will have serious consequences to the right to access books in Idaho’s
schools and public libraries.

Under the proposed laws, if a child under the age of 18 is allowed to access or check out library
materials that the bill deems “harmful to minors,” the child’s parents would be allowed to file a civil
lawsuit against the library. In the case of S1187 & S1188 there would be criminal penalties imposed.

There is a long list of what the bill defines as harmful, including the depiction of nudity, suggestion
or depiction of a sexual act, LGBTQ+ content, and more. While there is a provision for works of
literary, artistic, or scientific value, there is no explanation of how that distinction is made.

These bills do not, for example, specify shifting books that require high levels of maturity from the
children’s section to an adult section or create new procedures to prohibit certain adult books to be
checked out by a minor. Instead, the bill encompasses all books, CDs, and movies in the library that
might be defined as objectionable and allows a parent to sue if that material is presented, made
available, exhibited, etc.

At the heart of this issue is freedom, access, and education.

This bill diminishes the ability of parents to use public resources (schools, libraries, etc.), resources
they have traditionally counted on to help educate and inform their children. It substitutes someone
else's definition of '"objectionable material " for their own parenting decisions. And it harms low
income families more than others...they rely on libraries more. This would also have a more serious
impact on rural libraries, where often the public library is the center of resources for these

Idaho Children Are Primary (ICAP) strongly supports parents’ say in what their children read. This is
why mechanisms already exist for parents to monitor and restrict their own children’s access to
materials in libraries and classrooms.

It is a parent’s responsibility to monitor and discuss the ideas and concepts in books that their
children read. It is not the role of the state to impose one group’s standards on everyone else, with
punitive consequences. The wholesale removal of books from public spaces tramples on the rights of
all parents to make choices for their own children.

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