Kansas Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Censor Internet Pornography

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State lawmakers in Kansas recently introduced two bills that would effectively censor pornography in the state by requiring computers and smartphones sold in the state to have porn filters installed.

Two bills in the Kansas House would force all citizens in the state to install an anti-pornography filter on newly purchased Internet-connected devices. Citizens would have to pay a $20 fee to the state of Kansas to remove the filters on the devices. The fee would fund various programs that combat human trafficking.

The bill was introduced by Republican Rep. Randy Garber, who believes that the bill should appeal to everyone because it is designed to protect children.

“It’s to protect children,” Garber said. “What it would do is any X-rated pornography stuff would be filtered. It would be on all purchases going forward. Why wouldn’t anybody like this?”

A second bill introduced in the house would impose a $5 entrance fee on all adult-oriented businesses. This fee as well would go to programs that combat human trafficking.

Democratic representatives in the state are hitting back hard against the bill. Rep. Tim Hodge said that Garber’s bill is a violation of the Constitution.

“Part of being an adult is not legislating morality,” Hodge said. “If Randy Garber wants to crawl into everybody’s bedroom, that is more creepy than the activity he is trying to prevent. I thought we still lived in America. We all took an oath to uphold the Constitution.”

But Garber says that sometimes freedoms have to be restricted in order to ensure that people act responsibly. “It’s kind of sad we have this problem. We’re a free nation. With freedom comes responsibility. Sometimes we don’t exercise (it) the way we should,” Garber added.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of filtering software for Internet-connected devices. In Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union from 2002, the court ruled against a broad law that would have restricted any speech on the internet that was harmful to minors.

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