Porn Filtering Debate Heats Up

Porn Filtering Debate Heats Up
Stephen Yagielowicz
SACRAMENTO — A meeting held to determine the fate of porn and content filtering in Sacramento's public libraries has ended in a 7-7 deadlock. The issue is unlikely to be revisited.

The meeting was held during the same week as the Free Speech Coalition's 11th annual "Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Days" in which the adult trade advocacy group represented the legal and political interests of the industry.

The American Civil Liberties Union has been pressuring the Sacramento Public Library Authority to grant patrons unfettered Internet access without limiting adult's surfing habits and without the library imposing a "shoulder-tap" policy, which would allow library staffers to require patrons to cease viewing websites that others might find offensive.

"It's a bad thing," Michael Risher of the ACLU said. "Under our First Amendment and under our constitutional system, the government should not be telling us what to read or what to look at any more than the government should be telling us what to think."

Concerned parents see things differently, however, and addressed the board during Thursday's meeting.

"How dare you not want to protect our children," Brenda Bennett said.

"This is something that is an excuse to open up the floodgates for people to be able to view what we consider inappropriate, and to use our public funds for doing it, and it's wrong," parent Jayme DuFort said.

While the board claimed it would address the issue again next month, some board members told local television station KCRA 3 that, following seven years of debate on the subject, it wouldn't be addressed again any time soon.

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