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Idaho Democrats campaign against 'library porn' bill with statewide protests

Several people hold signs in front of the downtown Boise library protesting a new law restricting access to books for minors
James Dawson
/
Boise State Public Radio
Nearly 100 protesters gathered in front of the downtown Boise library July 1, 2024 to protest a new law limiting access to books for minors in Idaho.

Democrats across Idaho marked the first day of July with a protest. Nearly 100 people gathered at the downtown Boise library to push back against a new law restricting children’s access to books.

Idaho Democrats held these protests in six cities across the state, telling Republicans to keep their hands off their libraries.

The law, which took effect Monday, lets any person file a complaint with public and private libraries alike.

If the library doesn’t relocate the book deemed harmful to kids to an adults only section, it could face a civil lawsuit. Libraries that lose in court face a $250 fine and uncapped damages.

Examples of “obscene” books used by several lawmakers over the past several years include those with LGBTQ themes or characters, books featuring sexual assault or sexual education materials.

House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) said people are tired of the GOP dominated legislature constantly limiting their freedoms.

“You add this to the bans on trans care, the bans on abortion care, the attempted ban of drag shows. They’re just looking to ban everything,” Rubel said.

After far-right candidates unseated more moderate, traditional conservatives in the May primary, she said it’ll be tough to overturn laws like these through the traditional legislative process.

Rubel, who’s a lawyer, said she’s tired of groups or individuals having to resort to legal challenges to combat this legislation.

“We should not have a system where the elected representatives continually assault our rights and then we have to constantly turn to the courts to undo the damage.”

She hopes these laws will eventually lead to a tipping point at the ballot box.

Several local and state legislative candidates spoke at the Boise protest, promising to campaign on the issue for the upcoming general election in November.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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