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Over a hundred protest controversial legislation outside Marshall Public Library

People stand and protest in front of the Marshall Public Library. | Kyle Riley,
POCATELLO — Over a hundred people rallied in front of a local library to protest legislation that just went into effect.
The protest took place in front of the Marshall Public Library at 5 p.m. on Monday. The date was significant because the controversial House Bill 710, commonly known as the library bill, went into effect that day.
The law now officially allows people to submit a written request to have an item at the library relocated to an “adults only” or a “restricted” section. If the library doesn’t comply with the request within 60 days, the person who made the request could sue. This is separate from the already existing reconsideration process in place for libraries.

The crowd marched around the library. | Logan Ramsey,
Rick Davis spoke with about why he decided to come out and protest the new law.
“I think that somebody had some misplaced priorities on the need to censor library books,” said Rick Davis. “Some of the books that they’re calling pornography, and that was what was said in the Idaho legislature, turn out to be books which have great impact on people’s lives.”
Davis used an example from his own life of when he read “The Catcher and the Rye,” in the 70s which he had heard called pornography at the time. He said that he “didn’t know just where my way was” and the book had a profound impact on him.
“It changed my life,” Davis said. “Some of these books, they’re so worried about, are turning out to be life changing for some people.”

Rick Davis holds his sign. | Logan Ramsey,
State Senator James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, spoke about an experience he had in his twenties when he went to Berlin and saw a memorial to the books that were burned by some students and professors in 1933.
“Here in Idaho we haven’t had book burning but we sure have had book banning,” Ruchti said.
Ruchti said that the newly in effect legislation comes from “christian nationalists” that have been elected into the legislator as well as those sympathetic to their cause. He said that this effort has been led by the Idaho Family Policy Center.
“That is why we have the horrible abortion legislation in this state, and that is why we have legislation that tells you what medical care you can and cannot get for your kids,” Ruchti said.
Mary Shea, a candidate for House seat 29A, said that there were Republicans who didn’t want the bill to pass, but voted in favor to prevent division in their party. She also criticized the bill for including language that states that “any homesexual content whatsoever is harmful to minors.”
“When somebody challenges content for being homosexual conduct, (it will) go to court. And guess who gets paid for that? We do. Taxpayers,” Shea said.
Nate Roberts, D-Pocatello, said that voters have the choice to vote the candidates who voted in favor of this legislation out of office.
“We have a republic because we kept it, we fought for it, and that’s up to you to get out and fight for our democracy,” Roberts said.
Samantha Cooper and Will Hernandez also spoke to about why they came out to protest the law.

Will Hernandez (left) and Samantha Cooper (right) stand in front of the Marshall Public Library. | Logan Ramsey,
“I can say I came out here for a lot of different reasons… but what it really comes down to is to protect our choice. We cannot have someone telling us what we can and cannot read,” Hernandez said.
“Who am I to say what is right for the children to read and what is not?” Cooper said. “I don’t think that it’s right for Karens, for lack of better word, to come in and choose for our children.”
Cooper and Hernandez both spoke to the importance of the library, even in a world with the internet.
“I still use a library every single week,” Cooper said. “Libraries give us all an opportunity to receive that education, to have that ability to have different perspective.”
Hernandez said that when he was growing up, his family had a difficult time in the housing crash.
“Throughout high school, I didn’t have internet at home… I had to do my homework in the library,” Hernandez said. “I’m sure there are many other kids that are in my shoes still today.”
The post Over a hundred protest controversial legislation outside Marshall Public Library appeared first on East Idaho News.

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