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WV Library Association joins opposition to obscenity bill

By Roger Adkins, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Leaders of West Virginia’s library community have now joined in opposition to a proposed bill that would make libraries, museums and schools criminally liable if they display obscene material to a minor.

The West Virginia Library Association issued a statement Wednesday opposing House Bill 4654, which removes exemptions in state code for these institutions and would allow them to face criminal charges for displaying obscene material to minors. The WVLA serves, educates, and advocates for West Virginia’s 171 public libraries, as well as academic, school, and special libraries.

The bill has been approved by the House of Delegates and is being considered by the Senate.

In West Virginia, the penalty for displaying obscene material to a minor can vary between a felony and a misdemeanor, depending on the specific offense. According to the West Virginia Code, a person convicted of a felony for distributing or displaying obscene matter to a minor can be fined up to $25,000 or confined in a state correctional facility for up to five years.

The West Virginia Association of Museums has already publicly opposed the proposed legislation, saying it has the potential to harm the quality of programs and hinder recruitment of volunteers and workers.

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