The Idaho House of Representatives created a working group to study “harmful” materials in libraries and affirmed its commitment to protecting minors from obscenities in a resolution passed on Friday.

What it says: The Idaho House said “harmful” materials contribute to juvenile crime, “impairing the ethical and moral development of our youth,” the Idaho Statesman reported.

  • The resolution also says pornography is a “public health crisis” that harms “children, families, and societies at large.”

What happened: Earlier this month, the House passed HB666 to punish librarians for allowing minors to check out “harmful materials.” Librarians would have been subject to fines of $1,000 and a year in jail, but the bill was never heard in the Senate, according to The Associated Press.

  • Resolution sponsor Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, said she was disappointed that HB666 failed.
  • “This is not the solution we’d hoped for,” said DeMordaunt, speaking to the resolution on the House floor on Friday, the Idaho Statesman reported. “We do have something before us that I think that will help us continue to protect minors. ... We have an opportunity here to shine further light on this issue.”
Schools have become the latest culture war battleground. Are public libraries next?

Why it matters: Other Idaho Republicans expressed concern that the resolution doesn’t go far enough to protect minors, and some claimed libraries are promoting pornography to children. But some Democrats said obscene materials aren’t as common in libraries as the resolution’s supporters claimed.

  • “This is about our children, our grandchildren, and my real concern is we’re losing them to evil,” said Rep. Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony, the Idaho Statesman reported.
  • “It’s a false narrative to suggest obscene materials are all over in our libraries. They aren’t. You might be able to find one or two examples that make certain members of the communities uncomfortable, but this is a false narrative,” said Rep. James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, The Associated Press reported.

What’s happening in Utah: Utah’s Legislature recently approved a bill that prohibits schools from “having materials that describe or depict pornographic or indecent acts.”

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The bill originally banned any sexual content in lesson plans and other school materials, but was watered down to basically match what was already in code.

  • “This is not about banning books,” said Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross. “It’s about a good process for reviewing what books are appropriate in schools under the same standard applied to students and other materials in our existing code.”
  • Public libraries have also received a high number of requests that books be pulled or removed for sexual content and violence.
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