‘No Opposition’ to Calif. Bill Targeting Porn at Work

Rhett Pardon
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California state employees could be fined up to $1,000 a day for viewing online adult material under a bill that has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia’s AB 546 on “Obscene Matters on Computers in Employment,” would “make it unlawful for any person to knowingly use a state-owned or state-leased computer to access, view, download or otherwise obtain obscene matter.”

Currently, state workers who spend their time surfing adult sites are only subject to disciplinary action, which can vary among agencies.

Now Garcia, R-Cathedral City, says that she wants to even the playing field with $1,000 fines.

“We’re not out to attack the adult industry,” Dillon Gibbons, Garcia’s legislative director, told XBiz. “This [bill] is about the egregious viewing of obscene matter on taxpayers’ time.”

Gibbons said that the issue was first introduced to Garcia by the California Family Alliance, a Christian-based lobbying group based in Sacramento, and that the bill is expected to sail through the Legislature.

“Right now, there is no opposition,” Gibbons said.

AB 546, which next goes to the full Assembly, targets all state employees, including elected officials.

The exceptions would be for scientific, medical, academic and legislative research, as well as investigations by law enforcement agencies. The bill also doesn’t apply to University of California employees until university regents make it applicable.

Under the bill’s language, managers who suspect a state worker of viewing obscene material would first investigate the case and then turn evidence of likely offenses over to the state Attorney General or district attorneys for prosecution.

The penalty would be $1,000 a day plus three times the value of employee time. The offending state employee also could face disciplinary action.