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Book ban bill modified, passes Senate

Tom Hermans

The state Senate has passed a bill designed to keep libraries from allowing minors access to sexually explicit materials.

As originally introduced, it would have prohibited public libraries from even having explicit sexual material. But it was amended by the Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Janne Myrdal (R-Edinburg) told the Senate as amended, the bill now passes what’s known as the “Miller Test,” based on a more that 50 year old court case – and she said there are three points to the amended bill.

"Explicit sexual material means taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest of minors," Myrdal said. "Second, is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community in North Dakota as whole, in respect to what is suitable materials for minors. And three, taken as a whole lacks serious literacy, artistic, political or scientific value for minors."

Sen. Ryan Braunberger (D-Fargo) said he voted for the amendment in committee, because it made the bill more acceptable. But Braunberger warned about this being a step in the wrong direction for censorship.

"I don't think anyone in this body could agree that pornography should be shown to children, and I am one of those individuals," Braunberger said. "However, these bills have an underlying intent, to target individulas of the LGBTQ community."

HB 1205 passed 39 to 7. It now goes back to the House, to see if there is agreement with Senate changes.