Backdoor attempt at censorship in Indiana
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So, is it legal for our leaders to pass a law that in clearly unconstitutional?
Not to mention that "harmful to minors" can at times be a rather ambiguous statement, even if it is according existing law.
An inventive political opponent could campaign on the premise that this law was passed in an attempt to LEGALIZE the sale of "material harmful to minors" . "Ladies and Gentleman I ask you what intention could there be behind this law? Do we want to register pornographers the way we register our cars? Do we want pornographers flooding our streets? NO! We need to remove from office the scoundrels that attempted to force this abomination onto the streets of our fair cities and remove this foul law from the books."
The sad thing is that the legislators were all essentially blackmailed into voting for this. NOT voting for a bill that uses the phrase "sexually explicit materials," puts you behind the eight-ball.
It passes not because your legislature agrees with the idea - it passes because no one in the legislature wants to be known as voting for smut and things that will ultimately corrupt our children. Basically, the attack ads would go something like, "Joe didn't want your children to be protected from sexually explicit material - he's perfectly fine if your 4-year-old can buy Hustler magazine - is that who you want representing you?"
This is where you need to be on top of your state legislature. Talk to your representatives. If you live in Indiana, write letters to the editor (if you can, get an op-ed piece) on what kinds of classics constitute "sexually explicit" so folks don't automatically assume that it means graphic photos of genitalia or explicit depictions of sex with farm animals. Get on the offensive and make sure that people know that they're talking about making the local Barnes & Noble not have to register because they have a copy of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
Start digging up the bill histories on those legislators that introduced the bill - there will probably be other things that didn't even make it to the floor. Above all else, make sure that the argument turns into "why do these fringe groups get the right to blackmail our legislators by exaggerating everything - let's let the legislature ignore them and move onto doing what's right for the state!"
That's why the original "Patriot Act" passed, with its provisions for accessing library records.
What legislator wants to vote against being a patriot?
U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled that House Enrolled Act 1042, passed by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year, burdens First Amendment rights and is unconstitutionally vague and overly broad. The law would have taken effect today.