BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry released a report on Louisiana public libraries Tuesday morning.
“Protecting Innocence” includes information about public libraries, the access children have to material and possible solutions to prevent kids from accessing material inappropriate for their age range, according to a news release from the attorney general’s office.
Landry said solutions are not about banning books or censorship but “protecting the innocence of children in this state.” He said it’s about giving parents control over what their children have access to in libraries.
“This is not a political issue, this is about giving parents and officials the tools they requested to protect Louisiana’s children from sexually explicit material that is inappropriate for their age,” said Landry.
He reiterates that books shouldn’t be banned but instead relocated within libraries. Landry said another proposed solution is updating the library card system, which would give parents control over what materials can be checked out by children.
A pre-filed bill authored by Senator Heather Cloud proposes that libraries should “adopt and implement a policy to limit the access of minors to sexually explicit material.” Language in SB No. 7 proposes allowing parents to choose a library card that would restrict children from checking out sexually explicit material.
“This legislation that I filed this morning also protects librarians and staff from liability,” said Cloud.
However, she said there are consequences for libraries that fail to make policy changes. The proposed bill states that libraries won’t get State Bond Commission approval on debt or tax proposals until they comply.
Click here to read the “Protecting Innocence” report.
Reaction from LGBTQ+ rights advocates in Louisiana:
“Today, Attorney General Jeff Landry publicly shared his “Protecting Innocence” Report, and Sen. Cloud filed SB7, a bill to censor certain books in libraries. When AG Landry was asked if this bill specifically targeted LGBTQ+ identities, he avoided answering the question. Surely if this tirade was genuinely about protecting the innocence of our youth, he should be able to acknowledge that this bill is not about censoring LGBTQ+ content. Ultimately, SB7 is an overreach of big government to decide what resources parish libraries can have available to their local community members. AG Landry should know best that Censorship is not a Louisiana value, and bills like this chip away at our citizens’ Freedom of Speech.Executive Director of Louisiana Trans Advocates Peyton Rose Michelle
This legislative session, I look forward to protecting the free speech of community members across Louisiana and having conversations about how we can better serve the youth of Louisiana.”
“It is telling that in a state with staggering murder, teen pregnancy and child poverty rates, Landry chooses to ignore the very serious issues facing Louisiana in favor of creating fictional problems that further marginalize the LGBTQ+ population while demonizing librarians and teachers who have spent their careers supporting and educating our children.”St. Tammany Library Alliance spokesperson Mel Manuel
“The bill announced today by Attorney General Jeff Landry was not written to protect children. It was written as part of a nationally coordinated effort by conservative politicians to rally the far-right, disappear LGBTQ+ people, and erase the gains of the LGBTQ+ movement. This legislation would deny LGBTQ+ youth access to stories that they see themselves in, that empower them to love themselves. It would prevent access to information and history that inspires empathy and acceptance.”Real Name Campaign organizer Ed Abraham