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Indiana Passes Censorship Bill

HEA 1042 is a new Indiana law which requires any seller of sexually explicit materials to pay a fee of $250 and register with the secretary of state. This information is passed on to local officials so that they can monitor the businesses activities. “Sexually explicit materials” is defined as follows in the bill:

Sec. 2. (a) For purposes of this chapter, materials, products, or services are “sexually explicit materials, products, or services” if:
(1) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that:
(A) the dominant theme of the materials, products, or services, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex; or
(B) the materials, products, or services depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct; or
(2) the materials, products, or services are designed for use in or marketed primarily for:
(A) the stimulation of human genital organs; or
(B) masochism or sadism.
(b) The term does not include:
(1) birth control or contraceptive devices; or
(2) services, programs, products, or materials provided by a communications service provider (as defined in IC 8-1-32.6-3).

Votes: House passes: 88-5. Senate passes: 44-2. Voting no in the House: Crooks, Noe, Avery, Moses and Pierce. Senate no’s: Boots and Mrvan.

First Amendment challenges are already being considered.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

23 Comments

  1. asrai
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 10:46:35

    A government far too interested in what people are doing privately. It’s borderline creepy.

  2. whey
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 10:53:50

    Indiana, this is not the way to stimulate the economy.

    I recommend an iVibe.

  3. Jackie L.
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 12:14:07

    Might make it tougher for the state reps and senators to get their sex toys. Have to order out of state.

  4. (Jān)
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 12:20:15

    I really hate the growing intrusiveness of the government. It’s made me completely change the way I vote in the past couple of years. I’ve dropped all support of people who vote for bills like this.

  5. Bev Stephans
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 12:52:13

    Here we go again!!!!

  6. RStewie
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 13:24:37

    So now, I’m some sort of perv or sex ciminal in training for reading erotica/romantica/romance novels?

    I’m offended. What I do with my prurient interests is my own business.

  7. azteclady
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 13:54:38

    half a tiny step forward, three miles back… :sigh:

  8. Charlene Teglia
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 16:43:04

    Determined by “applying community standards?” That’s pretty vague. And I hope it’s successfully challenged ASAP.

  9. Radish
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 17:14:17

    At first I was amazed by this, that so much effort is invested in protecting the populace from the dangers of their own private interests, instead of protecting the populace from dangerous individuals —

    — until I remembered ‘to follow the money’.

    The ‘law’ can fine a retailer, but it cannot fine a rapist or a murderer.

  10. stephanie feagan
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 18:57:30

    Maybe the preacher’s wife who sits in the Oklahoma state legislature, who recently compared gay people to terrorists, has extended family in Indiana?

    I was certainly surprised to discover, via the Oklahoma Rep’s statements, that my lesbian daughter is responsible for the disappearance of our society. I’m gonna have to ground her for that.

  11. Ann Bruce
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 19:09:07

    Okay, this is trite, but there seriously needs to be a separation between religion and state.

  12. Robin Bayne
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 19:10:54

    I’m a conservative Christian and find that bill extremely offensive.

  13. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 21:41:54

    Dunno how conservative a Christian I could be, but I definitely consider myself a Christian and I don’t care for the bill at all.

    And… sigh…I live in Indiana.

  14. azteclady
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 21:43:14

    Yikes, Shiloh! :cyber hugs:

  15. Shayne
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 22:24:14

    Do ER writers write for the:

    (A) the stimulation of human genital organs;

    Seems one could stand in court and argue that they don’t write stories just so strangers can get off. It might be a side effect, but that’s not why they write.

    Or 2, ER writers write for:

    (A) the dominant theme of the materials, products, or services, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex;

    Don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t say I write to appeal only for that reason. One could argue in court that one writes to gain mental and emotional reactions and sometimes people do get turned on or hard ons. Uhhhh….

    I’d love to see this play out in court.

  16. Shayne
    Mar 26, 2008 @ 22:38:23

    This is incredibly broad and vague. Holy …

    A person, firm, corporation, association, partnership, limited liability corporation, or other entity that intends to sell sexually explicit materials, products, or services shall register with the secretary of state the intent to sell sexually explicit materials, products, or services and provide a statement detailing the types of materials, products, or services that are intended to be sold.

    This could apply to an author (person), publisher, sex shop. Hell, it sounds like it could apply to a prostitute. Services? What services?

    Please don’t tell me I’m the only one that reads –person intends to sell sexually explicit services– as being prostitution. Doesn’t that mean prostitutes need to register with the state of Indiana? If they pay the $250, will they be legal?

    Okay, sorry. I’ll stop.

  17. joanne
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 07:41:47

    Go Indiana! They have been so busy.

    They have no crime and the streets are so safe that now they can concentrate on other things that offend and hurt the population, like reading and re-acting (or not) to what is read. Yippee.

    They have admitted to having the average person there…. Time has been ticking away and I thought I’d never live long enough to see the average person so I hope their government site is quick to post some pictures.

    Idiots.

  18. Nora Roberts
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 09:02:04

    Who is the average person, and why does he/she get to decide for everybody else?

  19. veinglory
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 09:41:55

    I write sex scenes to stimulate – that is to get people off – puriently or otherwise. I see no need to excuse, deny or justify that.

  20. Shiloh Walker
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 09:49:56

    Gee, if any residents of Indiana would like to voice their complaints to the author of the bill in a calm and rational manner

    His name is Terry Goodin and his email addy is
    [email protected].

    And I do strongly suggest calm and rational, because the state representative is probably going to ignore anything that reads like a rant, so therefore ranting is just a waste of time. Even when somebody is in the wrong, or especially when, they are less likely to be open to discussion when somebody jumps down their throat.

    Getting somebody on the defensive isn’t a way of getting them to see your POV.

    :) I’ve already written both my local rep and Mr. Goodin.

  21. Patricia Briggs
    Mar 27, 2008 @ 11:12:17

    Did you notice how careful they were to avoid ticking off the TV people? They specifically exclude:

    (2) services, programs, products, or materials provided by a communications service provider (as defined in IC 8-1-32.6-3).

    So you can get Porn through your IP or Playboy channel, but booksellers will have to register in order to sell a Mary Balogh book — or heck — (as someone pointed out on Smart Bitches) a Bible. I’d like to see that, all the Christian Supply stores registering because they sell the Bible.

  22. Patrick
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 19:38:13

    No government has any business in my bedroom (or any other room of my house, actually) unless it can prove I am doing harm – meaning almost anything physically harming that is non-consensual (meaning lack of legal, informed consent by someone who has reached her/his majority) – to someone else.

    Who the hell gets to decide what is “patently offensive”?

    The Supremes will surely be hearing about this law, if it isn’t struck down at a lower level, maybe even if it is.

  23. Live in Indiana? « Trivial Pursuits
    Mar 30, 2008 @ 19:05:03

    […] Jane did a rundown on it over @ Dear Author. The main highlights are: Sec. 2. (a) For purposes of this chapter, materials, products, or services are “sexually explicit materials, products, or services” if: (1) the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that: (A) the dominant theme of the materials, products, or services, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex; or (B) the materials, products, or services depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct; or (2) the materials, products, or services are designed for use in or marketed primarily for: (A) the stimulation of human genital organs; or (B) masochism or sadism. (b) The term does not include: (1) birth control or contraceptive devices; or (2) services, programs, products, or materials provided by a communications service provider (as defined in IC 8-1-32.6-3). […]

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