MISSOURI: GOP Bill Would Jail Librarians Over Drag Queen Story Hour, Drag Queens To Protest At Capitol

The Kansas City Star reports:

Public libraries that display “age-inappropriate material” could lose state funding and even see their librarians fined or jailed, under a bill proposed by a Missouri lawmaker.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Ben Baker, a southwest Missouri Republican, said Thursday that the “Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act” did not target books but was drafted in reaction to Drag Queen Story Hours being held across the state.

“In some places — St. Louis, Kansas City and I think St. (Joseph) — they’ve had these drag queen story hours and that’s something that I take objection to and I think a lot of parents do,” Baker, R-Neosho, said. “That’s where in a public space, our kids could be exposed to something that’s age-inappropriate.”

The Christian Post reports:

Librarians who refuse to remove age-inappropriate content could be convicted of a class B misdemeanor and be required to pay a $500 fine and be sentenced up to a year in jail.

Thus far, the Kansas City Public Library has never formally hosted a Drag Queen Story Hour though such events have been held in area museums and theaters.

Around the country, protests have sprung up as libraries have opened their doors to drag performers. Parents and local activists have argued that drag is both misogynist and sexually explicit content that endangers children.

The Springfield News Leader reports:

The drag queens are coming for the General Assembly. Just days after Rep. Ben Baker’s bill targeting drag queen story hours at public libraries drew national attention — and criticism — local performers are putting together plans to protest.

Tanner Rambo, a Springfield promoter representing two performers organizing the March 7 event, said Wednesday he hopes other performers will flock to Jefferson City “to show Ben Baker and the legislature this kind of bill is just bad policy.”

Rambo, the promoter, said the whole thing is ridiculous. “You’re talking about people in big, poofy dresses telling stories in funny voices and trying to get kids interested in reading, which I think we should all want,” Rambo said.

Rep. Baker first appeared on JMG last year when he pushed through a bill to allow bible study as an elective course in public schools.