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Lawmakers Rep. Scott Allen, R-Waukesha, and Sen. André Jacque, R-De Pere, announced May 9, 2023 that they are seeking co-sponsors for two bills on “obscene materials” in public schools in Wisconsin.

LRB-0522 would prohibit schools from using state aid to purchase obscene materials; LRB-0423 would remove an exemption for school employees to be held liable for displaying obscene material, according to their announcement.

The proposals would amend state statute 944.21.

That law says material is obscene if, according to “the average person,” it “appeals to the prurient interest if taken as a whole … describes or shows sexual conduct in a patently offensive way.” The material also must lack “serious literary, artistic, political, educational or scientific value.”

Criminal or civil prosecutions under that law can be filed only with the approval of both the local district attorney and the attorney general.

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WisPolitics Rep. Allen: Releases “Protect Childhood Innocence” bills

Wisconsin State Legislature 944.21 | Obscene material or performance.

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Tom Kertscher / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for PolitiFact and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.