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Thread: Why Indiana is already in hell

  1. #1

    Why Indiana is already in hell

    The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is opposing a new Indiana law requiring bookstore operators to register with the government if they sell "sexually explicit materials." The organization argues the regulation could apply to stores that sell mainstream novels and educational books. The ABFFE will ask the Media Coalition to file a legal challenge to the law. The coalition defends businesses that produce and distribute publications, recordings, movies, videos and video games that are protected by the First Amendment.
    I watched this bill move through the legislature with some interest, in part because the original intent was to have these businesses register with the local plan commission (which later was amended). The stated idea was to protect counties without planning and zoning from those nasty pron-0-graphy peddlers who lately have taken advantage of these upstanding rural places. I followed it in part also for its' obvious unconstitutionality. I was not surprised when it passed and signed into law.

    Given some of the scenes in The Good Book, would Christian Booksellers have to register, I wonder?


  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Nov 2002
    It's sad that thanks to the chain bookstores and general paranoia any new independent bookstore is met with fear by the locals. Lots of people just aren't familiar with successful small bookstores and assume the only people who would want to start one are wearing trenchcoats with no pants.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Sep 1999
    400 miles from Orlando
    As a former independent bookseller, this kind of thing really gets my goat. This is simply a way to try to pressure booksellers to stop stocking items some special-interest group doesn't like. It would affect even the big chains, they always carry sex manuals. All the grocery stores and drugstores, Target, etc, would have to register because they sell romance novels, and boy can they get explicit.

    I hate anything equated with book-banning. Here's the American Booksellers Assoc web site about free expression, they post lots of links to stories like this one.


  4. #4

    Federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled yesterday that Indiana House Enrolled Act 1042 is unconstitutional. Two quotes of interest from the opionin in Big Hat Books v. Prosecutors: Adams, et al:

    Plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of HEA 1042 first on the grounds that it is a content-based regulation of protected expression that fails to meet the requisite standard of strict scrutiny. Defendants assert that an intermediate level of judicial scrutiny is proper here, given the ““zoning-like”” aims of the statute. * * *
    It is clear to us that HEA 1042 is precisely the sort of content-based restriction necessitating examination through the lens of strict scrutiny. As Plaintiffs note, courts have consistently found statutes regulating sexually explicit speech to be content-based restrictions. * * * Defendants’’ argument that the statute is akin to a zoning ordinance, and therefore subject to an intermediate degree of scrutiny, is unsupported both factually and by controlling precedent. * * *

    Clearly, a vast array of merchants and materials is implicated by the reach of this statute as written. A romance novel sold at a drugstore, a magazine offering sex advice in a grocery store checkout line, an R-rated DVD sold by a video rental shop, a collection of old Playboy magazines sold by a widow at a garage sale –– all incidents of unquestionably lawful, nonobscene, nonpornographic materials being sold to adults –– would appear to necessitate registration under the statute. Such a broad reach is, without question, constitutionally disproportionate to the stated aim of the statute to provide a community ““heads-up”” upon the opening of ““adult bookstore-type businesses.””
    Conclusion. For the reasons detailed in this entry, Plaintiffs’’ facial challenge to HEA 1042 is well-founded. We hold that HEA 1042 unduly burdens First Amendment rights, and is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.
    I had the great honor not to be called as a witness in Judge Barker's courtroom but had only to observe the proceedings involving an adlut bookstroe. From what I observed, you would be unwise to mess with her. While her opinion in our case was muddled IMO (it was appealed), she has a way of making her point.

    The author of the Act is said to be prearing another version to introduce in the coming session of the General Assembly. yippee.

    Not valid without corporate seal

  5. #5
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
    Aug 2007
    Back in SE Texas
    Ahh yes another way to waste government time. I can't stand how every thing is this country seems to be run by a few narrow-minded "family and values first" groups. Let's actually solve some of Indiana's real problems, like a continuing loss of jobs, or how will local government continue to meet the demands of the public once the 1% cap on property tax goes into effect in 2010! No no, lets waste time and stifle people's freedom because people are offended!

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