GOP Legislators in South Dakota Hijack 'Revenge Porn' Bill to Demand Broad Censorship

GOP Legislators in South Dakota Hijack 'Revenge Porn' Bill to Demand Broad Censorship

PIERRE, S.D. — A state representative in South Dakota introduced a bizarre bill last Thursday that attempts to create a loophole to censor sexual expression while avoiding the obvious First Amendment issues.

South Dakota House Bill 1277 (HB1277), sponsored by GOP Rep. Isaac Latterell — along with fellow Republicans Carl E. Perry and Tony Randolph — proposes a mandate that “no person other than the person whose face is depicted in obscene material distributed or exhibited in this state may receive any revenue generated in connection with the distribution or exhibition of the obscene material.”

The proposed bill is over-broad in its definition of "obscene material" and could be interpreted to apply to all sexual expression.

"The right of the person to receive revenue under this section may not be sold, transferred, assigned, pledged, attached, garnished, encumbered, or otherwise alienated nor may the right be taken, voluntarily or involuntarily, for the satisfaction of any debt or claim against the person, including a claim for alimony, support, separate maintenance or a claim in a bankruptcy proceeding," Latterell's censorship bill states.

This is a naked attempt to hijack the popular cause of fighting the abusive behavior termed by the mainstream press "revenge porn" to effect censorship on all commercial sexual expression.

"Revenge porn" and "child porn," two forms of illegal abuse that have nothing whatsoever to do with the consensual commercial adult industry, are overwhelmingly over-represented in mainstream news searches of the word "porn."

The Republican representative's bill includes language that appears to address the so-called "revenge porn" issue. "A person whose face is depicted in obscene material may bring a civil action against a person who violates the person's rights under this section and recover an amount equal to the sum of the damages, attorney feeds and $10,000 in statutory damages," the bill states.

If passed, South Dakota's HB1277 would effectively institute state censorship for all sexual expression that is not solely distributed by the performers.

According to a local report, HB1277 has not been assigned to a committee for debate yet, and Latterell is not responding to requests for more information or clarification.

To read the proposed South Dakota House Bill 1277, click here.

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