Utah Governor Seeks $50K to Fight Porn

Utah Governor Seeks $50K to Fight Porn
Rhett Pardon

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has asked the state Legislature to allocate $50,000 in taxpayer funds to the Utah Coalition Against Pornography.

The nonprofit holds conferences in the state and receives most of its funding from conservative foundations and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two events are planned for 2017 — one in Salt Lake City and the other in St. George, Utah.  

It’s not the first time Utah legislators have funded anti-porn efforts. In 2001, the state funded an Obscenity and Pornography Complaints Ombudsman for two years.

Herbert included the $50,000 request in his 103-page, $16 billion budget proposal, submitted to legislators last week.

The Utah Coalition Against Pornography is a private nonprofit organization led by one of Herbert’s close advisers, Pamela Atkinson.

“I am already on record that pornography is a public health issue,” Herbert told The Salt Lake Tribune. “This effort is an effective way to empower parents with practical methods to protect their families from the dangers of pornography.”

Herbert green-lighted two pieces of legislation aimed at porn this year. One measure declared it a “public health hazard,” another strengthened punishments and oversight for possession of child porn. 

Online porn usage is unusually high in the otherwise deeply conservative and deeply religious Utah. A Harvard Business School study six years ago found the state of Utah had the highest rate of subscriptions to pornographic websites per 1,000 people of any state in the U.S. 

The state’s leading pollster earlier this year said that about three in four Utahans agree porn is a public health crisis.

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