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Lawmakers look to block access to online porn statewide

A state representative from western Missouri wants to ban porn access for everyone in the state unless you pay up....

Posted: Mar. 15, 2018 6:16 PM
Updated: Mar. 15, 2018 6:16 PM

A state representative from western Missouri wants to ban porn access for everyone in the state unless you pay up.

Representative Jim Neely (R-Cameron) says the idea behind his bill is simple: protecting kids.

The bill says a distributor who makes or sells a product that is accessible to the internet, like a phone or a computer would be required to install a blocking software that would prevent the device from accessing obscene material.

Neely says it would apply to all porn. A person could have the blocking software removed if they prove they are more 18-years-old and pays a $20 deactivation fee. The money would go into a fund called the "Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Fund."

When pressed on how the blocking software would work, Neely said it would be similar to how school's block students from websites, but when pressed he admitted, he wasn't sure of the logistics.

"I'm a physician, I don't know computers," said Neely in a phone interview.

Cindy Wallace is the manager of Simple Pleasures Boutique in south St. Louis. They have a large adult video collection.

"I just don't see how they would be able to do it number one and number two, I think there are more things in every single state to worry about besides people watching porn," said Wallace.

The ACLU of Missouri said the bill adds an "unreliable and unconstitutional filter."

"While this legislation may seem like a way to make communities safer, it will cause more harm than good by censoring constitutionally protected speech and creating far-reaching, long-term consequences when it comes to Missourians' privacy," said Jeffrey Mittman, executive director, ACLU of Missouri

"This bill will invade the privacy of Missourians who have not engaged in any criminal act."

The bill says if a distributor fails to block the prohibited sites, they could face a civil lawsuit.

News 4 asked Attorney General Josh Hawley about the proposed legislation but he said he would have to read up on it.

Nearly identical legislation was introduced in Alabama and Rhode Island.

The bill has not yet gone to committee.

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