Colo. Lawmaker Wants to Tax Hotel-Room Porn

Tod Hunter
DENVER — A state lawmaker wants to tax in-room adult movies in hotels and use the money to fund child sex-abuse investigations.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument, currently calls for a 99-cent fee on all in-room movies ordered at hotels, but Stephens said she plans to narrow her proposal to apply to just adult movies.

The money would go into a fund for children's advocacy centers, which counsel sexually abused children and help police and prosecutors interview young victims. There are 14 centers in Colorado and more than 600 across the U.S.

Stephens has said that imposing the fee on adult movies to fund child sex-abuse investigations makes sense. She told the Denver Post, "Most of our sexual predators in prison are addicted to pornography,"

Stephens' office did not return a call from XBIZ asking for further comment.

1st Amendment Attorney Jeffrey Douglas sees constitutional problems if the law passes.

"Any effort to single out one from of speech for a special fee, or taxation, or any form of disadvantage, is, of course, overwhelmingly unconstitutional," Douglas told XBIZ. "it has been clear for most of the 20th century. It would allow the legislature to punish any form of speech of which they disapprove, including political speech.

"This is a frivolous attempt to get publicity. They should stop before they embarrass themselves and generate attorneys' fees pointlessly."