Magazine article American Libraries

Florida Filter-Mandate Bill Gets Third Strike

Magazine article American Libraries

Florida Filter-Mandate Bill Gets Third Strike

Article excerpt

A filter-mandate bill opposed by Florida librarians and library supporters has died in the Florida legislature. Had the bill become law, it would have fined public libraries lacking operational filters and allowed citizens to sue libraries that weren't complying.

"Filters out there can't do the perfect job," said Beverly Bartlett, one of approximately 100 protesters who demonstrated at the capitol April 13. "We are using filters in our system now--it's just an unneeded extra layer of bureaucracy when we are already taking care of it at the local level," she said on Tallahassee-based WFTV-TV.

The bill's defeat marks the third year in a row that filter-mandate legislation has been introduced in Florida, only to fail passage in the Senate. Nonetheless, bill sponsor Sen. Stephen Wise (R-Jacksonville) vowed, "We will be back next year" in an April 29 interview on WFSUFM's Perspectives radio program. Wise said he would continue his efforts "because some counties in the south [of Florida], as usual, don't want to comply" with the federal Children's Internet Protection Act--despite the fact that CIPA does not require libraries to filter unless they accept federal funding for telecommunications costs. However, the bill Wise backed would have required public libraries to install blocking software regardless of how their Internet connections are financed. …

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