House File 2176 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1relating to obscene material disseminated to a minor
2by a public or private elementary or secondary school
3or library, or a public library, creating a civil cause
4of action, providing criminal penalties, and including
5effective date provisions.
6BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
1   Section 1.  NEW SECTION.  728.2A  Dissemination of obscene
2material to minors by a public or private elementary or secondary
3school or library or public library.
   41.  A person affiliated with a public or private elementary
5or secondary school or library, or public library in an
6official capacity, or a person affiliated with an entity that
7provides products or services to such schools or libraries
8in this state, who knowingly disseminates to any minor any
9material the person knows, or reasonably should know, is
10obscene or harmful to minors, is guilty of an aggravated
11misdemeanor for a first offense and a class “D” felony if the
12person has previously been convicted of a violation of this
13section.
   142.  Each day on which a violation under subsection 1 occurs
15or continues shall constitute a separate offense.
16   Sec. 2.  Section 728.6, Code 2022, is amended to read as
17follows:
   18728.6  Civil suit to determine obscenity.
   191.  Whenever the county attorney of any county has reasonable
20cause to believe that any person is engaged or plans to engage
21in the dissemination or exhibition of obscene material within
22the county attorney’s county to minors the county attorney
23may institute a civil proceeding in the district court of the
24county to enjoin the dissemination or exhibition of obscene
25material to minors. Such application for injunction is
26optional and not mandatory and shall not be construed as a
27prerequisite to criminal prosecution for a violation of this
28chapter.
   292.  a.  A parent or guardian of a student enrolled in a
30public or private elementary or secondary school, or a parent
31or guardian of a child patronizing a public library, whose
32student or child receives obscene material in violation of
33section 728.2A may bring a civil action against any public
34or private elementary or secondary school or library, public
35library, affiliated entity, or any other party that has engaged
-1-1in or caused a person to engage in conduct that violates
2section 728.2A for any of the following remedies:
   3(1)  A declaratory judgment.
   4(2)  Injunctive relief.
   5(3)  Actual, incidental, and consequential damages.
   6(4)  Punitive damages, if appropriate.
   7(5)  Other equitable relief which the court deems
8appropriate.
   9b.  The minimum award of damages in an action brought
10pursuant to this subsection shall be ten thousand dollars
11and the prevailing party shall be awarded all costs of such
12litigation including reasonable attorney fees and expert
13witness fees.
   143.  It is not a defense to an action brought under this
15section that the materials disseminated are labeled as
16curriculum, approved for an educational use, or otherwise
17described to be for educational purposes.
18   Sec. 3.  Section 728.7, Code 2022, is amended to read as
19follows:
   20728.7  Exemptions for public libraries and educational
21institutions
 college and university libraries and programs.
   22Nothing in this chapter prohibits the use of appropriate
23material for educational purposes in any accredited school
24
 college or university, or any public accredited college or
25university
library, or in any educational accredited college
26or university
program in which the minor is participating.
27Nothing in this chapter prohibits the attendance of minors
28at an exhibition or display of art works or the use of any
29materials in any public library
 at any accredited college or
30university library or program
.
31   Sec. 4.  EFFECTIVE DATE.  This Act, being deemed of immediate
32importance, takes effect upon enactment.
33EXPLANATION
34The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
35the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
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   1This bill relates to obscene material disseminated to a
2minor by a public or private elementary or secondary school or
3library, or a public library, creates a civil cause of action,
4provides criminal penalties, and includes an effective date.
   5The bill provides that a person affiliated with a public or
6private elementary or secondary school or library, or public
7library in an official capacity, or a person affiliated with
8an entity that provides products or services to such schools
9or libraries in this state, who knowingly disseminates to any
10minor any material the person knows, or reasonably should know,
11is obscene or harmful to minors is guilty of an aggravated
12misdemeanor for a first offense and a class “D” felony if the
13person has previously been convicted of a violation of the
14bill. Each day on which a violation occurs or continues shall
15constitute a separate offense. An aggravated misdemeanor is
16punishable by confinement for no more than two years and a fine
17of at least $855 but not more than $8,540. A class “D” felony
18is punishable by confinement for no more than five years and a
19fine of at least $1,025 but not more than $10,245.
   20The bill provides that a parent or guardian of a student
21enrolled in a public or private elementary or secondary
22school, or a parent or guardian of a child patronizing a public
23library, whose student or child receives obscene material in
24violation of the bill, may bring a civil action against any
25public or private elementary or secondary school or library,
26public library, affiliated entity, or any other party that
27has engaged in or caused a person to engage in conduct that
28violates this section, for any of the following remedies: a
29declaratory judgment; injunctive relief; actual, incidental,
30and consequential damages; punitive damages, if appropriate;
31and other equitable relief which the court deems appropriate.
32The minimum award of damages in an action brought pursuant to
33the bill shall be $10,000, and the prevailing party shall be
34awarded all costs of litigation including reasonable attorney
35fees and expert witness fees.
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   1The bill provides that it is not a defense to an action
2brought under the bill that the materials disseminated are
3labeled as curriculum, approved for an educational use, or
4otherwise described to be for educational purposes.
   5Current law provides that Code chapter 728 (obscenity) does
6not prohibit the use of appropriate material for educational
7purposes in any accredited school, or any public library, or
8in any educational program in which a minor is participating,
9and does not prohibit the attendance of minors at an exhibition
10or display of art works or the use of any materials in any
11public library. The bill amends current law to provide that
12Code chapter 728 does not prohibit the use of appropriate
13material for educational purposes in any accredited college or
14university, any accredited college or university library, or
15in any accredited college or university program, and does not
16prohibit the attendance of minors at an exhibition or display
17of art works at any accredited college or university library
18or program.
   19The bill takes effect upon enactment.
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