Want to Be a Bounty Hunter?! Ban a Book!
New laws encourage people to rat out their libraries for housing “inappropriate” books.
It is getting easier and easier to pursue the lucrative career of bounty hunting. Now all you have to do is accuse your library of not banning enough books.
Across the country, Republican legislatures have introduced bills that effectively deputize the citizens of their state to pursue damages by turning in their fellow citizens for breaking new, primarily culture-focused laws. These so-called “bounties” pit neighbor against neighbor in the spread of extreme legislation dreamed up by politicians that is wildly out of step with the actual wants and needs of their constituents. And what is the latest target of these kinds of bounties?
In Idaho, a law passed through their House of Representatives that would have allowed individual citizens to pursue a $2,500 bounty from their local libraries if those libraries are found to have books on their shelves that politicians have decided are not appropriate. As with many of these laws, what determined was appropriate or not was vaguely worded and ambiguous.
So much so that the state’s GOP Governor, Brad Little, actually vetoed the bill.
That did not stop the Idaho State House from trying to force the law through anyway. They held a vote to override the veto and pass the law despite the governor’s opposition. The veto override failed, so they are moving on to their next political weapon: a vote of no confidence in the governor.
Sign the petition to fight book bans!
Let’s be clear: The stated goal of the original law was to keep inappropriate and pornographic material out of the hands of children. The thing is, though, most states already have laws in place that prevent this. These new laws that are attempting to censor libraries and strip books off the shelves have been shown time and time again to target instead books that a bunch of politicians or extreme voices just do not like.
This is not an effort to protect children. It is a campaign to take people’s liberties away.
These laws are not popular. They do not reflect the will or desire of the people, who overwhelmingly oppose book bans, and they are further becoming weaponized to turn neighbors against each other or their own libraries.
Write to your senator or representative. Let them know you oppose these kinds of laws. They cannot be allowed to spread.
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