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Idaho library materials bill moves to Senate for amendments

by MIA MALDONADO / Idaho Capital Sun
| March 28, 2024 1:00 AM

Idaho’s newest library bill is moving forward in the Idaho Legislature. 

The Senate State Affairs unanimously approved on Monday a motion from Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Winder, R-Boise, to move House Bill 710 forward, but under the condition it receives amendments. 

Last week, the bill was left undecided by the committee because of time constraints, following testimonies from 29 out of 30 individuals speaking against the bill, including library staff, board members, and patrons.

House Bill 710 was brought to the Legislature to address concerns that children have access to obscene or harmful materials. This is the fourth time this session lawmakers have tried to regulate library materials for minors. 

Bill sponsor, Sen. Cindy Carlson, R-Riggins, gave closing comments to the committee, emphasizing that the legislation’s purpose is to protect children from access to harmful materials. 

“If we do not address this issue now it will keep coming back as an issue,” Carlson said. “Let’s put the responsibility in the hands of their parents. There is no book banning. This codifies a relocation policy that is fair. This will not cause frivolous lawsuits.”

The bill already passed the Idaho House of Representatives in a 47-23 vote, and Monday’s Senate committee’s decision means the bill could be taken up in the Senate’s 14th order for changes in the coming days of the session. Legislative leaders have said they hope to adjourn the session for the year by the end of this week.