Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Rep. Russ files bill to protect schoolchildren from inappropriate material

Russ Files Bill to Protect Schoolchildren from Inappropriate Material

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, has filed legislation that seeks to protect school-aged children from inappropriate material in school and public libraries.

House Bill 3702 would require any Oklahoma school district, charter or virtual charter school, state agency, public library, or university that offers digital or online library database resources to students in kindergarten through twelfth grade to do so only if the vendor, person, or entity providing the resources verifies that all the resources comply with the provisions of the new law.

"The protection of our children is of the utmost importance," Russ said. "Unfortunately, even though we have current state laws that define inappropriate material, we are still finding examples of this in our public school classrooms and libraries throughout the state on a regular basis. We must do a better job of safeguarding young minds from obscene material."  

Under the proposed new law, public schools, agencies, libraries and universities would be required to have safety policies and technology protections in place for K-12 students.

A user would be prohibited and prevented from sending, receiving, viewing, or downloading materials that are child pornography or obscene materials, as defined in current state statutes, or materials that depict child sexual exploitation as defined in current state statute. Filters or blocks to such materials are easily available and would be required.

Contractors failing to comply would face loss of payment and be considered in breach of contract. Libraries would be required to submit a report by Dec. 1 each year to the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the state Senate  detailing any issues related to provider compliance with technology protection measures.

The legislation likewise specifies that employees of Oklahoma school districts, charter or virtual charter schools, state agencies, public libraries, or universities  shall not be exempt from state law which prohibits indecent exposure to obscene material or child pornography as defined in state statute.

If passed and signed by the governor, the law would become effective Nov. 1.

Todd Russ serves District 55 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Roger Mills and Washita counties and parts of Beckham, Greer and Kiowa counties.


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