HB 348 Public libraries; information infrastructure access.
Robert G. Marshall | all patrons    ...    notes
| add to my profiles

Public libraries; information infrastructure access; penalties. Places limitations on public library patron access to the Internet and other components of the electronic information infrastructure. It is not applicable to libraries in public or private elementary or secondary schools.

The bill requires juveniles to be accompanied by (i) parents or guardians, or (ii) a responsible adult, teacher or librarian with the express permission of such juveniles' parents or guardians, when using public library computers furnishing unrestricted access to the information infrastructure. Additionally, library computers with such unrestricted access must be placed in restricted library areas physically separate from areas in which juveniles are permitted unaccompanied by adults. The bill further stipulates that libraries with computers furnishing unrestricted information infrastructure access must also provide juveniles access to separate computers providing information infrastructure access, but limiting that access to resources and sites free (to extent technically feasible) from materials harmful to juveniles, child pornography, and obscene materials.

The bill also prohibits the access, display or reproduction by library patrons, via the information infrastructure, of materials harmful to juveniles, obscene materials or child pornography in any library area from which juveniles are not excluded. Additionally, library patrons are prohibited from accessing, displaying or reproducing obscene materials or child pornography via the information infrastructure in any library area. Violations of these provisions are punishable as (i) Class 1 misdemeanors if the materials obtained are materials harmful to juveniles or obscene materials, or (ii) Class 5 felonies if the materials obtained constitute child pornography.

Public libraries receiving any state funding are required by this bill to obtain computer hardware and software inhibiting library patron access via library computers to obscene materials and child pornography. All public libraries are required to develop guidelines designed to prevent potential sexual harassment of library employees via a hostile workplace created by library patron access, display or reproduction of sexually explicit materials on library premises.

Public libraries are also required by this bill to develop and implement guidelines for library patron information infrastructure access via library computers designed to (i) inhibit library patron access to obscene materials and child pornography, (ii) ensure patron compliance with the provisions of this bill, and (iii) ensure prompt reporting to law-enforcement authorities of patron violations of this bill's criminal provisions. The guidelines must be implemented not later than January 1, 1999, for existing libraries, and within six months of their establishment for any new library facilities opened thereafter.

Finally, the bill provides civil and criminal immunity to library staff furnishing information about library patron violations of this provisions of this act, when such reports are made in good faith and upon reasonable belief.

Full text:
01/15/98  House: Presented & ordered printed 980483324  pdf

01/15/98  House: Presented & ordered printed 980483324
01/15/98  House: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
02/02/98  House: Assigned to C. J. sub-committee: 1
02/16/98  House: Continued to 1999 in Courts of Justice (24-Y 0-N)