EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — In Evansville, some Indiana lawmakers hear from voters about their concerns. Dozens of people gathered for an event Saturday morning at Central Library.
Senate Bill 12 was brought up several times. Republican State Senator Jim Tomes authored the bill and says that it would remove the exemption for K-12 schools and public libraries from a law that prohibits the distribution of obscene material to children. That includes books that are deemed to be pornographic or violent.
“The argument that it is educational is not a defense, that is why the bill simply strikes through the word, in our current statute, the word ‘education’,” says Tomes. “It does not touch whether it is scientific, artistic or has any literary value. We are not touching any of that.”
Unlike legislation recently passed in Florida — Tomes says the bill would not ban books.
Other lawmakers are not sure if they are for or against the bill. Republican State Senator Vaneta Becker says she has not read the bill entirely yet, but understands why libraries are concerned.
“I don’t know, I think that there is inappropriate material in libraries that is not good for children, but I also think that parents have a responsibility to know what their child is reading,” says Becker.
The bill caused quite a stir in the audience.
“To think you have a 5-year-old, 10-year-old or even 16-year-old, looking at this stuff, it can really disturb them. They are not prepared for that kind of information,” says Jim Braker.
One parent with a child in the local school system says she is concerned.
“I have researched and found over 30 books just in the EVSC school system that are pornographic in nature and inappropriate,” says Karin Conger. “I think that are children are being sexualized, I think this leaves them vulnerable to sexual predators.”
A similar bill passed in the senate last year. Legislators say the house ran out of time to hear the bill last year.