UPDATE: House Bill 1205 was signed by Gov. Burgum.
House Bill 1205 would make it a crime for libraries to offer “sexually explicit” books or books that show nudity or partial nudity to their patrons.
The ACLU of North Dakota opposes House Bill 1205. The bill is a blatant attempt at censorship, pure and simple. Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court set the high constitutional bar that defines obscenity — a narrow, well-defined category of unprotected speech that excludes any work with serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. Since then, few if any books have been deemed obscene. And the standards for restraining a bookseller or library’s ability to distribute a book are even more stringent.
House Bill 1205 also prohibits visual depictions of “gender identity” and “sex-based classifications” in its list of offenses, but doesn’t clarify what that means.