Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Parent’s Empowerment Act

This is a bill that could have a impact on libraries, but I've not heard anything about it yet. Maybe those who are more in the know could point to something at Library Juice or OIF. Could libraries be sued under this for having something someone finds offensive on the shelf? Could this, on the other hand, be used to get cigarette point of sale advertising removed from all corner stores? That is something I find obscene and harmful to minors.
Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-52) recently introduced “The Parent’s Empowerment Act of 2004” in the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 4239 provides parents the means to protect their children from obscene material by allowing the parent, or legal guardian, of a minor to sue in a district court any person who knowingly sells or distributes a product that contains material deemed harmful to minors.

H.R. 4239 establishes a new and appropriate test for what is obscene for a minor and outlines punitive damages that can be assessed and awarded. Under this bill, a district court which rules in favor of the parents, may award a minimum of $10,000 for each instance of damaging material. In addition, prevailing parents would be entitled to compensation for all legal fees. “The Parent’s Empowerment Act” gives parents the tools to protect their children from being exposed to pornographic and indecent material by punishing those responsible for it.

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