LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A bill submitted in the Arkansas Senate Thursday would expand the definition of obscene materials and make libraries in the state criminally liable if they violate it.
Senate Bill 81, sponsored by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Jonesboro) and Rep. Justin Gonzales (R-Okolona), would amend the Arkansas code for endangering the welfare of a minor to include sexual material and remove protection for library employees.
The materials included under the measure would feature “nudity, sexual intercourse, deviate sexual activity, sexual contact, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse” following guidelines as held by “the average adult applying contemporary state standards.”
Furnishing material, including by internet, makes a person criminally liable by the bill’s terms.
In the past the law gave exceptions to school or library employees who provided material while “acting within the scope of his or her regular employment.” The bill would remove library employees from the exception list.
Violations allow a victim to sue for $50 for each day of a breach and an additional $10,000 if the state, a county or a city “recklessly” violated the law.
The bill was submitted late Thursday and has yet to be voted upon or assigned to a committee.