Idaho Republican Behind Age Verification Bill Cites Constitutional Mandate to 'Promote Morality'

Idaho Republican Behind Age Verification Bill Cites Constitutional Mandate to 'Promote Morality'

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho House State Affairs committee this week unanimously moved forward the state’s copycat version of the age verification legislation being sponsored around the country by anti-porn religious conservative activists.

Speaking in support of the bill, main sponsor Rep. Elaine Price (R-Coeur d’Alene) said, “We have a constitutional duty to protect virtue and sobriety and promote temperance and morality,” the local NPR affiliate reported.

The language of “sobriety” and “temperance” has not been part of mainstream constitutional debate since the repeal of the 18th Amendment in 1933, after the complete failure of its blanket alcohol prohibition.

However, Price was explicitly referring to Article III, Section 24 of Idaho's Constitution, written in 1889, which reads, "The first concern of all good government is the virtue and sobriety of the people, and the purity of the home. The legislature should further all wise and well directed efforts for the promotion of temperance and morality."

During the same session, Price also advocated for amending the Idaho state constitution to allow for taxpayers’ money to fund religious education, as opponents urged the committee to “vote down the proposal and preserve the separation of church and state,” Boise State Public Radio reported.

According to the report, Price’s age verification bill would make “content creators that feature explicit content on more than one-third of their websites” liable for failure to “verify a user’s age through a government-issued ID or use a third-party system to do so.”

The bill allows Idaho parents to sue websites “for a minimum of $10,000, plus damages within four years,” Boise State Public Radio reported.

Before entering Republican politics, Price, who holds an associate degree in accounting, worked in retail and started a business with her husband. Her campaign platform was focused on repealing COVID lockdown policies, lowering taxes, “protecting our minor children from grooming and sexualization” and “holding our schools and libraries accountable for content set before our minor children.”

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