Public library employees in Missouri could face a fine or jail time for providing “age-inappropriate sexual material” under a bill proposed by a state lawmaker.

The bill, known as the “Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act,” has drawn criticism by library and freedom-of-speech groups since it was introduced last month by State Representative Ben Baker, a Republican.
The bill proposes that libraries create a parental review panel that would evaluate whether content provided by the library is “age-inappropriate sexual material.” The panels would be made up of five residents who are not library employees.

Under the bill, libraries could lose state funding for failing to comply and a library employee who “willfully neglects or refuses to perform any duty” of the legislation could face a misdemeanor charge and, if convicted, be fined up to $500 and sentenced up to a year in jail.
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