|A GOP lawmaker wants to fund President Donald Trump’s border wall by squeezing money out of every Arizonan who patronizes pornographic websites.
Republican state Rep. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, recently introduced House Bill 2444, which would require electronics manufacturers to preinstall porn-blocking software on all electronic devices bought or sold in the state, the Arizona Mirror reported.
To deactivate the blocking software, a person would have to prove they are at least 18 years old and pay a one-time fee of $20 to the Arizona Commerce Authority. Manufacturers or retailers could also charge a fee for disabling it, according to the bill. Anyone who deactivates the blocker themselves would face a misdemeanor charge.
The money collected by the state, according to the proposal, would form a number of grants, which would, among other things, help sex abuse victims and fund the president’s proposed border wall.
The bill defines pornographic content as “patently offensive” material that lacks “literary, artistic, political or scientific value.” It references the banning of “revenge porn” websites and addresses specific anatomical areas that cannot be visible in images:
Less than completely and opaquely covered human genitals, pubic region, buttock or female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola [and] human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, whether covered or uncovered.Mike Stabile, a spokesman for the Free Speech Coalition, told the Arizona Mirror the proposal amounts to a tax on media content and would violate the First Amendment.
“It’s pretty clearly unconstitutional,” said Stabile, whose organization advocates for the adult entertainment industry.
Similar bills have been proposed, including one last year by GOP Virginia state Rep. Dave LaRock, who wanted Virginians to pay a $20 fee to unblock content on adult websites. The bill stalled on the Senate floor.
According to the Arizona Mirror, the bill appears to be linked to a man named Chris Sevier. Last year, Sevier was reportedly issued a cease and desist by child safety activist Elizabeth Smart, who apparently did not approve of him using her name on a similar bill introduced in Rhode Island.
Sevier first made headlines in 2013, when he accused Apple of being responsible for his porn addiction. He was in the news again in 2017, when he sued Utah for refusing to recognize his marriage to his laptop. The lawsuit was thrown out last year.
“He’s been doing this all across the country,” Stabile told the Arizona Mirror, adding “he’s a bit of a jokester.”