Arkansas Age Verification Bill Amended Over Confusing Language

Arkansas Age Verification Bill Amended Over Confusing Language

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas House approved yesterday an amendment to SB 66, a Republican bill that would require age verification before “entering a website offering pornography,” over confusing language.

SB 66 was introduced in January by state Sen. Tyler Dees (R-Siloam Springs), who later admitted that his state initiative is only a stepping stone toward the ultimate goal of a federal mandate.

Yesterday, a voice vote in the Arkansas House sent the amended bill back to the Committee on House Rules for further consideration, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported.

Rep. Mindy McAlindon (R-Centerton) told the paper that the amendment was needed “to clarify distinctions between ‘corporate entities’ and ‘third party vendors’ in the bill.”

As XBIZ reported, SB 66 is a copycat version of Louisiana’s Act 440, a new law enacted in January after being championed by a religious anti-porn activist Republican legislator.

Dees’ bill proposes requiring a “digitized identification card” to prove the age of anyone from Arkansas trying to enter “any website with over 23.33% of its material meeting the pornography description.”

The bill also claims that “pornography is creating a public health crisis and contributes to the hyper-sexualization of minors.”

Federal Age Verification As Final Goal

Dees, a poultry plant executive who says he spends his free time in Bible study, told Vice magazine in February that he hoped to “protect children and their innocence in [the] state of Arkansas and then send a message across the country that we need something similar built into federal law as well.” 

The state senator also referred to a supposed “explosion” in the ability of children to access online content.

The Arkansas bill is being promoted amidst what Free Speech Coalition has called a wave of “the most aggressive censorship we've seen in decades” and also includes Dees’ definition of what kinds of material would constitute “pornography.”

Republicans throughout the country are currently seeking to outlaw all adult content by overturning the 1973 “Miller Test” differentiating First Amendment-protected sexual material from illegal “obscene” material produced to appeal to “a prurient interest.”

Main Image: Anti-porn Arkansas State Senator Tyler Dees (R-Siloam Springs) (Photo: Arkansas Senate)

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