Thursday, February 02, 2023

State Sen. Standridge files bill to better protect minors from obscene material

Sen. Standridge files bill defining community standards for material made accessible to minors

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 1st) – State Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, has filed Senate Bill 1056, which would create a special definition of  “contemporary community standards” in Oklahoma statutes to better address the issue of obscene material being made accessible to minors.

Standridge said case law has resulted in the concept of contemporary community standards in the determination of what may be defined as obscene.  As a result of Miller v. California, defining material as obscene is determined by whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find the work appeals on the whole to prurient interests; describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way; and lacks any serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

“My legislation would, for the first time, specifically define contemporary community standards when dealing with material given to minors.  There is no question that it is completely inappropriate for adults to knowingly give obscene and vulgar material to children, most especially without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian,” Standridge said. “While respecting community standards and other aspects of cases like Miller, we still must protect innocent children from those that wish to use loopholes in the law to give obscene material to minors, a serious crime by any standard.”

SB 1056 would amend current law creating a community standard when it comes to material given to children and teens.  Under his legislation, material would be in violation of the contemporary community standards for minors under either of the following conditions:

  • If one or more news outlets in the area refuses to read, show, or otherwise communicate the material in question to their audience because they feel the material is inappropriate, vulgar, or in some other way too sexually explicit to communicate to their audience.
  • If one or more secular print news outlets who distributes their materials in the area refuses to print or communicate the material in question because they feel the material is inappropriate, vulgar, or in some way too sexually explicit to communicate to their readers.

Legislation filed for 2023 can be considered after the session is formally convened on Feb. 6.


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