The Iowa Senate Wednesday voted down a proposal to require libraries which get state funds to restrict loaning R-rated movies to kids under 18-years old. Brad Zahn, a Republican from Urbandale, offered the amendment to an education appropriations bill.
"Librarians should be responsible, just like what’s going on in the private sector. I want every one of you people in here to think about your kids," Zaun says. The proposed ban has been offered in the past along with attempting to require libraries to install internet filters of obscene materials.
Senator David Hartsuch, a Republican from Davenport, said video stores and other businesses restrict R-rated movies to those 17 and older and libraries should too. Hartsuch says many teens now act out violent acts based upon what they see on TV and print, and he says the amendment is a "common sense" way to avoid exposing teans to the violent acts.
Senator Frank Wood, a Democrat from Eldridge, quoted his local librarian who strongly opposed the amendment.
Wood says the amendment tries to put librarians in the position of deciding who can view the videos. "Librarians will tell you that this is an infringement of the First Amendment rights, and once you start restrictions, where do you stop.," Wood says.
Wood says libraries traditionally depend on parents to decide what their kids should be exposed to. Wood says there have been issues previously of filtering the internet and obscenity in books, and librarians are not in favor of the amendment. But other lawmakers quoted constituents unhappy to find their local libraries letting kids check out R-rated videos. The proposed ban was defeated by a vote of 31 to 17.