>> The closest House representative to me, Mark Gaines. If I don't get a reply this weekend, he's getting a formal handwritten letter with the rest of 'em.
>> Jaunita Owes, the librarian/ALA (Alabama chapter) official quoted in the article.
>> Neil Gaiman, since the link basically came from his journal in the first place. You laugh, but since he's worked with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, I figured he might have some advice on the most effective way to tackle this.
Of the three people, who writes me back first? Neil. Here's what he has to say:
"Right now I'd concentrate on just bringing it to people's attention, and suggesting that Alabama people contact their lawmakers to ensure they understand that it would be a bad and expensive law and not one that would make them popular with their voters..."
So there you have it. Although I might amend the "not make the popular with their voters," because, quite frankly, there's a large number of people here it would make them popular with. And yes, that's terrifying. The tack I took with Rep. Gaines was to point out what a wonderful opportunity smacking this bill down quickly would be to show the rest of the world that Alabama isn't backwards, and that we can do the right thing. I'm hoping that, if we get this across to the more metropolitan representatives, they may be able to convince others.
So: If you would like to get involved, I would suggest 1) posting about this on your journal/blog/website and/or 2) sending a link to the al.com article, or the previous entry in this journal, or both, or whatever, to people you know and get the word out. While I want to stress the censorship angle because I think that's the one that will work, there are two kinds of people you'll want to alert: 1) gay & lesbian groups and 2) "book people," including librarians, English teachers and professors, freedom of speech groups, etc. If you're in Alabama, please tell them that they need to write to their representatives and encourage this bill's defeat on the following grounds:
1. Massive, wide-ranging censorship is bad, and defeating this bill is an excellent opportunity for Alabama to show the world that we don't do that kind of thing.
2. Massive, wide-ranging censorship is expensive--do you want to ask for the tax raise to cover it?
And if you know Alabamians, as someone in the comments last night pointed out, you'll know that we have a pathological fear of taxes; I can't tell you how many good initiatives have been defeated because they involved wrenching a few dollars from taxpayers.
If you're not in Alabama, I can only ask you to spread the word--to the same groups of people, but to anyone, really, you think would be