Idaho bans public TV programs that ‘support’ law-breaking

Idaho’s state legislature has imposed extraordinary restrictions on the state public TV network, in delayed reaction to its broadcast last September of the gay-friendly documentary “It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School.” The state House of Representatives passed the restrictions March 27 [2000] by a vote of 50-16, as part of an appropriations bill that gives $2 million for DTV instead of the $3.9 million requested by the network. And the same legislation passed the state Senate April 4. It will order the State Board of Education, licensee of the network, to monitor “programs expected to be of a controversial nature,” and to reject any program that “promotes, supports or encourages the violation of Idaho criminal statutes.” In a state where sodomy is illegal, the bill could be interpreted as forbidding Idaho Public TV to rebroadcast “It’s Elementary,” a program about classroom treatment of the subject of homosexuality.