Fla. Bill Seeks to Declare Porn a 'Public Health Crisis'

Fla. Bill Seeks to Declare Porn a 'Public Health Crisis'
Rhett Pardon

DOVER, Fla. — A new bill introduced in Florida seeks to declare porn a “public health crisis.” 

Filed for the 2018 legislative session, HR 157 blames the “hypersexualization of children and teens” on “advances in technology and the widespread availability of the internet.”

It also calls porn “potentially biologically addictive, resulting in the user consuming increasingly more shocking material to satisfy the addiction.”

The declaration, if passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, would allow “recovery programs” to help treat porn addicts.

The new piece of Florida legislation, introduced by Rep. Ross Spano, a republican from the Tampa area, is similar to a resolution that was passed by Utah’s legislature and signed by its governor last year.

That resolution paved the way for Utah lawmakers to approve a second bill that allows civil lawsuits against distributors of adult content for mental and physical damages incurred by minors accessing such material.

Utah Sen. Todd Weiler told XBIZ several weeks ago that the law allowing civil suits in his state, passed in March, has not yielded any civil claims so far.

Stakeholders in the adult entertainment industry have been adamantly opposed to porn “public health crisis” declarations.

"This is an embarrassment to the State of Florida," industry attorney Lawrence Walters of Walters Law Group told XBIZ. 

"We are more evolved, and have too much respect for individual freedom, to be having this debate," said Walters, who lives and practices law in the state. "Hopefully it will be short-lived." 

Eric Paul Leue, the Free Speech Coalition’s executive director, wrote in April that such declarations that porn's a problem are “false and dangerous.”

“The laws are blatantly unconstitutional, and the science behind them bunk,” Leue stated in an XBIZ piece. “But like so much of this current political moment, the insanity of the situation doesn’t protect us from the fallout.”

Penthouse Magazine last year even labeled one of its issues "The Shameless Issue," pointing to Utah’s anti-porn laws. That issue's front-cover headline stated, “Utah’s Governor Wants to Handle Your Penis.”