Idaho Republicans form working group to study allegations of explicit library books - East Idaho News

Idaho Republicans form working group to study allegations of explicit library books

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BOISE (AP) — Idaho Republican lawmakers are forming a working group to study allegations that Idaho libraries are making explicit materials available to minors.

The Idaho Senate Republicans announced the plans for a working group over the weekend, the Idaho Press reported. The group will include eight lawmakers and representatives from the Idaho Commission for Libraries and the Idaho Library Association.

The issue — raised by right-wing Republicans who said libraries contain pornographic material — derailed the planned end of the legislative session on Friday, as the House twice defeated the proposed budget for the Idaho Commission for Libraries. Both chambers eventually passed a $7.7 million budget for the Commission for Libraries, a cut of about $4 million from the original appropriation. The cuts included $3.5 million in federal virus relief money, some of which would have helped rural areas establish telehealth connections, and more than $300,000 in state funding for e-books.

RELATED | Idaho House Republicans kill library budget, citing ‘harmful’ materials, pornography

Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Winder, a Republican from Boise, said Monday that the working group would investigate to determine the “scope of the problem and what the remedies might be, if need be.”

Democrats had mostly opposed the cuts, saying Republicans were punishing libraries for speaking up to defend themselves against a bill proposed earlier in the session. The bill, which failed to pass the Senate, would have criminalized librarians if they allowed minors to check out “harmful material.”