A Missouri state legislator is forging ahead with his bill to give parents oversight of public libraries.
The measure brought forward by Representative Ben Baker (R-Missouri District 160) comes as more libraries are hosting "drag queen story hours," in which men dressed as women read controversial material to children. Some individuals and news outlets have criticized Baker, saying he wants to ban books and other materials. But speaking last week on American Family Radio, Representative Baker said he wants to allow parents to make determinations of what is accessible to children at taxpayer funded libraries.
"That's the intention: to try to help balance what I believe right now is government control of our literature in the libraries with the community being able to weigh in," Baker told AFR talk-show host Bryan Fischer.
Under Baker's legislation (HB 2044), a community would have an open meeting at the library for people who are in that taxing district for that library. Those people would elect a five-member board of parents in that community.
"That board would have oversight of sexual content in the library, whether it's books, literature, media, or events at the libraries," Baker continued. "So they would have a public meeting regarding those, and any determination that would be made would have a public meeting, and the public would be able to weigh in on that … so that our libraries reflect the values that are in our communities."
According to the text of the legislation, no public library shall receive any state aid if the library allows minors to access age-inappropriate sexual materials.
Seeking clarification, Fischer asked Baker: "So, you're not telling libraries they can't host these drag queen story hour events, [rather] they can host them if they're willing to do without taxpayer dollars?"
"That's correct," answered Baker.
The legislator pointed out that within the culture there are restrictions on things such as movies, video games, and access to pornography – but noted there are few if any rules with our libraries.
"The more I dig into this and read the American Library Association's policies, they're very disturbing," Baker shared. "They're pushing the LGBTQ agenda upon our children purposefully and they're circumventing the public and ignoring their complaints – and I think that that's a major problem."
Baker's bill also says that "any public library personnel who willfully neglects or refuses to perform any duty imposed on a public library, or who willfully violates any provision, is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year.
LifeSiteNews has posted an online petition for people to sign and show their support for Baker.