Saturday, January 11, 2020

Ben Baker files Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act

Not content with efforts to inflict his own moral standards on public schools, Rep. Ben Baker, R-Neosho, has turned his attention to public libraries.

Baker filed the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act to keep impressionable young people from getting their hands on material that deals with sex or anything else that might be considered inappropriate by parents (or Baker).

HB 2044 makes it simple for a small group of people dedicated with little knowledge of what has literary value to control the books that go on the shelves of the public library.

Under the terms of Baker's legislation, library officials would have to inform the public that a meeting is going to be held to elect members of the committee that will make all such decisions. Only those who attend that meeting would be eligible to vote for committee members.

After that, the bill specifies that all decisions of the committee are final and cannot be overturned by publicly elected library boards or boards that have been appointed by elected public officials.

From the bill:

No public library shall receive any state aid under this section if such library 53 allows minors to access age-inappropriate sexual materials in violation of section 182.821. HB 2044 3 182.821. 

1. This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Parental 2 Oversight of Public Libraries Act". 

2. As used in this section, the following terms mean:

(1) "Age-inappropriate sexual material", any description or representation, in any form, of nudity, sexuality, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse, that: 

(a) Taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest of minors; 
(b) Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is appropriate material for minors; and 
(c) Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors;

(2) "Geographical area", any village, town, city, county, library district, or other area with established boundaries in which a library is established or for which a library is established to provide library services; 

(3) "Public library", any library that receives state aid under section 181.060 and that provides public access to age-inappropriate sexual material. 

Each public library shall establish a parental library review board as provided in this subsection. 

(1) At least thirty calendar days before the election of a board under this subsection, the governing body of the public library shall notify all qualified voters residing within the library's geographical area that an election for members of the library's parental library review board will be held at a regularly convened hearing of the village, town, city, or county in which the majority of the library's geographical area lies. At such hearing, the qualified voters present shall elect the members of the board by a majority vote. The five individuals receiving the highest number of votes cast by the qualified voters present shall be members of the board. 

(2) The board shall be composed of five adult residents of the public library's geographical area. Each board member shall serve a term of two years. Any vacancy shall be filled in the same manner in which the member was initially elected, except that if a member vacates the office before the end of the member's term, the vacancy shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired term only. No member of the board shall receive any compensation for any actions related to fulfilling board duties. No member of the board shall be an employee of the library, the state, or any political subdivision thereof. 

(3) (a) The board shall determine whether any sexual material provided to the public by the public library is age-inappropriate sexual material. To make such determinations, the board shall convene public hearings at which members of the community may present concerns to the board. After receiving comments from the public, the board shall examine individual instances of the questioned sexual material to determine whether it is age-inappropriate sexual material under this section. 

(b) The board may order any material deemed to be age-inappropriate sexual material to be removed from public access by minors at the public library. 

(c) Any such determination or order made by the board shall be the final determination or order on such materials, and shall not be subject to any review by the governing body of the public library, the state, or any political subdivision thereof. This subdivision shall not be construed to prohibit judicial review of any determination or order made by the board under this section. 

4. Each public library shall, on or before June thirtieth of each year, verify compliance with this section on any form created by the board. After such compliance is verified, the library shall post the verification in a conspicuous place for public viewing at the library.  

5. Any public library personnel who willfully neglects or refuses to perform any duty imposed on a public library under this section, or who willfully violates any provision of this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year.

Baker has already filed a bill for this term would allow the Bible to be taught as an elective social studies class in public high schools and legislation that would require all schools to place the motto "In God We Trust" in a prominent location.


Mindy Lawrence said...


Lisa Coleman said...


Unknown said...

Who voted for this clown? Clearly he has no clue about seperation of church and state or about 1st amendment rights. Ferenheit 451 and 1984. Maybe he should read some books himself.

Anonymous said...

Parents have oversight of their children. If they do not wish them to have access to particular materials, that is their right. They have no right to determine what everyone else in the community may read, hear or see.

Anonymous said...

This is authoritarian nanny-state nonsense from a so called small government conservative. So basically this is par for the course for Mr. Baker.

Barb said...

Oversee your own kids and leave mine alone

Anonymous said...

If he didn't want to parent children he should have kept his legs crossed.

Anonymous said...

Too many rules and regulations! Libraries already oversee their collections and age appropriate books are clearly placed in the proper areas. Concerned parents are in control. Most children see more and worse on television. Is there a bill for that too?!

Anonymous said...

Be scared and forewarned!

These religious extremists are out to change America into a theocracy.

Project Blitz !

"A playbook known as Project Blitz, developed by a collection of Christian groups, has provided state politicians with a set of off-the-shelf pro-Christian “model bills”.

Some legislation uses verbatim language from the “model bills” created by a group called the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF), set up by a former Republican congressman which has a stated aim to “protect religious freedom, preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and promote prayer”."

Anonymous said...

Ladies you'd better ask Brother Ben when he's coming for your pants!

There's some of these talibangelicals that think anything other than ankle length rough spun skirts are the work of the devil. (Tempting wandering eyes and so on.)

Anonymous said...

“Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Rowdy-
ism, profanity, slang, the use of tobacco or alcoholic beverages, card
playing, gambling, dancing, and attendance at worldly amusements
such as theaters, movies, carnivals, bowling alleys, auto races, in-
tercollegiate games, Recreation Center, roller
skating rinks, and other kindred pastimes are
strictly forbidden.
The administration has the right to ex-
ercise its judgment in the prohibition of any
digital entertainment, whether they be com-
puter games, hand-held game devices, or any
other type of personal entertainment device.
While entertainment and work products have
been blended to become essentially insepa-
rable (such as DVD/CD/CD-R/CD-RW combo
drives in computers), OBI bans the use of
these for motion picture entertainment pur-
poses for students. Digital video disk (DVD)
players, video cassette players or recorders,
and all other television/video equipment are
not permitted in the dorms or the houses of
off-campus students. Music which is objec-
tionable, including gospel rock, is forbidden.
The Dormitory Supervisor has a right to in-
spect all music, games, and computer software, and to notify the
student of what is and is not acceptable.
We highly recommend that businesses which serve liquor
not be patronized.
The reading of objectionable literature is forbidden. The
school reserves the right to inspect any books or literature of any
student and to ban literature that is not in harmony with the moral
standards and ideals of the school.

Anonymous said...


Dianne said...

Has Brother Ben heard of the First Amendment? Or the Supremacy Clause, which states that no state or district shall pass laws which contradict Constitutional law?

Anonymous said...

Post at 10:01 PM- A direct quote from the COLLEGE HANDBOOK OZARK BIBLE INSTITUTE AND COLLEGE NEOSHO MISSOURI (page 22 view here or view an archived version not at OBI: In the OBI Handbook some guy named Ben Baker is listed as the Dean of Students.

Anonymous said...

The clowns in Neosho and surrounding area voted for this clown and somehow the nut cases get through the cracks. He gives guns to school auctions, but wants to regulate books in a library. Does this not sound familiar to what went on in Nazi Germany. When will the state wake up that kids are exposed to more stuff than we ever were by 4 years of age and should give him a talk on life. Missouri is getting to be one sick state just like the hard core south.

Unknown said...

so you want me to give your children free access to the library and them also be their parent and tell them what they can check out and what they can't while you stay home and NOT supervise your children. is that the just of this bill? You do nothing and blame someone else when you kids bring home stuff you don't like

Unknown said...

Many things wrong with the bill, “separation of church and state” however is a fiction. There is only the barring of state from establishing or interfering with religion. Read and study closely the Constitution, nothing in the bill, flawed as it may be, counters it.

Anonymous said...

I would love to say that I don't believe what I have read, but unfortunately I do. This is a legislated return to the 1950s when religious groups demanded items in libraries be banned, removed them from the shelves and destroyed them, replaced them with 'suitable' items - which themselves were sometimes removed by another religious group.
I read banned books - including The Bible - for it has been banned, but I have never taken it as a replacement text for Social Studies - Ethics on the other hand frequently utilises the Bible texts. However Ethics should contain an element of questioning the veracity of the texts studied - and perhaps in the above case the Bible should not be questioned? Of course the Bible contains many gruesome and lewd sections full as it is of Salome, Sodom and Gomorrah, and numberless begets.

Whilst several aspects of this proposed bill frighten me as a librarian, it is the inviolability of "The Board", and the fact that this Bill could have come directly out of the Taliban or ISIS playbook - as does the regulations listed by Anonymous above for OBI students.

This Bill - and others of its ilk indicate that legislators and lobbyists want a Nation of Sheep (an old but important book to read) where free thought is stifled , and ignorance is bliss allowing the selfish to gain at the expense of the crushed ignorant populous. Yes I sound like a Socialist - because that is what Socialists fight for Freedom of Thought, Speech, Elections, Education, and one's body.

Lee Anne said...

As for separation of church and state I keep hearing about what the framers intended. Well here it is in Jefferson's own words. "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. January 1, 1802