The Indiana legislature is considering a bill that would empower parents to censor books they find objectionable and to criminalize librarians who allow such books in libraries. The story was originally reported on WYFI, the NPR station in Indiana.

Chalkbeat reported:

The House Education Committee heard hours of testimony Wednesday from school employees, librarians, and others across Indiana who expressed opposition to a proposed amendment to a bill that would strip these employees of a legal defense against charges they distributed material harmful to minors.

The hearing was the latest evolution in a months-long legislative process driven by concerns among some parents that pornography is rampant in schools. While lawmakers have drafted legislation to address these concerns, they’ve presented little evidence to suggest it’s a widespread problem. The latest iteration of the legislation also targets public libraries.

Rep. Becky Cash (R-Zionsville), who crafted the amendment, said she’s heard from “thousands” of parents who have lodged complaints with their schools over books they believed were objectionable.

“Parents have testified in school board meetings and come to me, and many members of this committee and assembly many, many times over the last couple of years saying that the system did not work for them,” Cash said.

She explained that the amendment mandates schools and public libraries lay out a transparent process for parents and residents to lodge complaints.

But several Democratic members of the committee expressed concern that the bill would empower some parents and disempower others by creating a system in which some parents could control access to books for all children. They also expressed opposition to a portion of the amendment that strips librarians and school employees from a legal defense.

“We are not the court of appeals from parents who are unhappy with school board decisions,” said Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis). “But if we were the Court of Appeals, we would want evidence. What parent? What school? What book? What hearing? What process? Not this vague discontent.”

These attacks on librarians and on the freedom to read are despicable. The red states are empowering ignorant censors who want to impose their values on people who don’t share them.