Clapp battled library smut, stays true to her worldview

Before being elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in the late 1990s, Lauri Clapp served on the Englewood City Council for three years, focusing on the redevelopment of blighted neighborhoods. She also helped implement the state’s first anti-smut technology to be used in public libraries.

The Englewood Public Library was the first in Colorado, and the second in the country, to initiate new technology that limited minors access to the Internet. With the start of the program in 1999, library visitors under 18 could only access around 5,000 “kid-friendly” sites unless they were given “smart cards” indicating that they had their parents’ permission to browse uninhibited.

Parents “should have a level of comfort that the library is a safe place,” Clapp was quoted saying 1998, noting that her primary concern with unfettered Internet access at the library involved children who could access pornography.

The conservative Clapp, featured extensively by the Colorado Independent Monday, is known for her ardent opposition to abortion and gay rights, for her support of guns — and her interest in advancing health care and child welfare issues. And at least one lawmaker who has served with Clapp, Rep. Debbie Stafford, D-Aurora, notes that Clapp, who is running for the state Senate, puts her money where her mouth is.

“Yes, she’s very conservative,” Stafford says, noting that the ideology influences Clapp’s bills. “It’s just her value system and her beliefs.”

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.

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