Backdoor attempt at censorship in Indiana

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Backdoor attempt at censorship in Indiana

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1inkdrinker
Mar 28, 2008, 11:41am

I cannot believe that Indiana is going to do THIS.. The thought of it makes me ill.

2readafew
Mar 28, 2008, 11:54am

yes that is really pathetic

3DaynaRT
Mar 28, 2008, 12:54pm

It's a stupid and useless law, but I'm not seeing any censorship.

4WholeHouseLibrary
Mar 28, 2008, 1:14pm

It's not stupid and useless if it gets you what you want. As pointed out in the article, you have to pay a hefty fee ~and~ spend a lot of time "detailing the types of books to be sold". It also means that somebody is going to have to spend a lot of time and money to bring the case to court. And, it becomes fodder for fund-raising and 'activism' (as mentioned in the article).

So, is it legal for our leaders to pass a law that in clearly unconstitutional?

5inkdrinker
Mar 28, 2008, 2:05pm

The censorship is in the intimidation.

6PhoenixTerran
Mar 28, 2008, 2:16pm

And the cost (in both time and money) is prohibitive. One result may be that bookstores may simply not order more "risque" materials because of the cost it will take to put them out on the shelves.

Not to mention that "harmful to minors" can at times be a rather ambiguous statement, even if it is according existing law.

7TLCrawford
Mar 28, 2008, 2:31pm

On the OTHER hand......
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."

8Unreachableshelf
Mar 28, 2008, 10:10pm

>6 PhoenixTerran: Besides the ambiguity of "harmful to minors," there is already a case on the books, the name of which escapes me, which ruled re: the Internet that it was unconstitutional to prevent adults from accessing content which was "harmful to minors" but which had not been ruled legally obscene in general.

9stephmo
Mar 28, 2008, 11:08pm

This is the super-sneaky method of doing things. The law will never take effect, but it will be used later as an example of how legislators want to "do the right thing." This leads to more money in election campaign coffers for those on the side of "keeping smut out of the hands of kids."

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!"

10nohrt4me
Mar 29, 2008, 2:19pm

Stephmo makes a good point about the language of the bill, i.e., 'sexually explicit materials."

That's why the original "Patriot Act" passed, with its provisions for accessing library records.

What legislator wants to vote against being a patriot?

11DaynaRT
Jul 2, 2008, 8:04am

Judge throws out law on explicit material
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.

12stephmo
Jul 2, 2008, 12:23pm

Excellent news! Now to see if anyone is dumb enough to fight it - at which point, it gets more attention and the group looks loonier and loonier for wanting such strict laws to "protect" people from not-so-evil things.

13inkdrinker
Jul 15, 2008, 6:32pm

I just found out about this today!!!! WOOOOO HOOOOO.... I'm so happy.