Bill eliminating educators' legal defense for obscenity stalls

March 20, 2024, 4 p.m. ·

A vote to end debate on Sen. Albrecht's LB441 fell three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed, effectively killing the bill for the session. (Photo by Brian Beach/Nebraska Public Media News)

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A bill that would eliminate a legal defense for teachers and librarians charged with providing obscene material to other people stalled in the Nebraska legislature Wednesday morning.

Sen. Joni Albrecht said she introduced LB441 to keep inappropriate books from being provided to kids in public schools and libraries.

Speaking on a lobby day for librarians at the Capitol, Albrecht tried to reassure them.

“For the librarians that are up in the balcony, I want you to know that this bill is certainly not focused on you or any teacher,” she said. “It’s only focused on those who would be presenting things to children that would be harmful to them.”

But the bill’s critics, including Sen. George Dungan, say it could have a detrimental impact on all of the state’s educators.

“We're going to find ourselves having this chilling effect on what is available in libraries, on what is available to kids to learn about and what teachers feel comfortable talking about in classrooms,” he said. “And the last thing I want is librarians or teachers or anybody else to feel like they can't do their job to help kids learn.”

After discussion spanning three days, the bill fell three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to end debate, effectively killing the proposal for this year.