HB666: Mark of the devil
House Bill 666 passed in the Idaho House of Representatives 51-14.
This bill is designed to elicit fear among teachers, librarians, university professors and museum curators. It is not designed to protect children.
It woefully ignores an individual’s right to exercise intellectual freedom, regardless of age. Instead, it subjects those who are charged with protecting that right to fines and jail time.
The bill doesn’t even define what “material harmful to minors” even is, or declare who makes that assessment.
I’m a library employee. As librarians, we don’t guard access — we provide it. This bill would have us make determinations about what is appropriate for you and your children to engage with. You’ll lose the freedom to engage with the material you deem appropriate because we have to choose between allowing you to borrow something or being fined $1,000 and going to jail for a year. Libraries are supposed to be where the free exploration of ideas and information can be experienced — a place where people can form their intellectual identity. Librarians shouldn’t be gatekeepers. We shouldn’t tell you, or your child, what you can and can’t engage with.
Why are we legislating for a perceived problem that could be handled through parenting? Why would we threaten teachers, librarians and others to take responsibility for what you as an individual should easily take responsibility for? Abdicating your personal responsibilities as a parent and relying on legislation to handle them for you seems the antithesis of what it is to be an Idahoan.
NATHAN A. HANSEN