Florida Republicans Combine Age Verification, Social Media Ban Bills

Florida Republicans Combine Age Verification, Social Media Ban Bills

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Republican state legislators in Florida have incorporated a copycat age verification bill, introduced by a pastor and based on other laws championed by religious conservatives across the country, into a larger bill that aims to prevent anyone under 16 from using certain social media platforms.

The larger bill, HB 1, is a priority of Republican House Speaker Paul Renner, who claims social media is “harming the mental health of children,” the Graham Media Group’s Orlando news site reported.

HB 1 “would prevent children under 16 from creating accounts on at least some social media platforms; require platforms to terminate existing accounts that they know or have ‘reason to believe’ are held by minors younger than 16; and allow parents to request that minors’ accounts be terminated,” the Graham Orlando news site reported.

In the course of revamping HB 1, the Republican-dominated Senate committee combined it with HB 3, a separate age verification bill previously passed by the House. HB 3 was introduced by Rep. Chase Tramont, a politician and ordained clergyman who serves as pastor at Oceanway Church in New Smyrna Beach.

The updated version of HB 1 passed the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee by a vote of 12-5 with 11 Republican votes and one Democratic supporter, Sen. Rosalind Osgood, who stated, “I believe that we have to do something to protect our kids. I believe we were wrong to just turn our kids over to social media.”

Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones voted against the bill, asserting, “It is not the Legislature’s job to parent the parents in how they parent.”

Even two of the Republicans who voted for the bill, Sen. Jay Collins and Sen. Jay Trumbull, expressed concern about governmental overreach trumping parental rights.

Collins stated that he was “very torn on this bill,” before ultimately falling in line with his fellow Republicans.

Dangerous and Unconstitutional

As XBIZ reported, earlier this week, Florida-based First Amendment expert Lawrence Walters, of Walters Law Group, wrote to the members of the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of his client, the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, opposing HB 3, the age verification bill.

Woodhull described HB 3 as “not only unconstitutional and a danger to consumer privacy, but ineffective at preventing minors from accessing adult content.”

Walters advised the committee, “Parental controls and device-level filters are effective tools if parents and schools are willing to use them. This technology not only puts power where it should be — in the hands of parents and caregivers — it is widely available, fully supported by industry, and endorsed by the Supreme Court.”

Walters added that bills that severely impact First Amendment rights deserve serious consideration and debate.

“We ask that you veto HB 3, and direct the legislature to work with technology companies, privacy experts and affected communities to find an effective solution,” he concluded.

After Thursday’s committee hearing, Walters told XBIZ, “This latest effort to combine the social media restrictions with adult website age verification obligations represents an overreach by the nanny state, substituting itself for the role of parents in deciding what material is appropriate for their consumption by minors of varying ages. The two bills raise very different issues and should be considered as independent pieces of legislation. Lumping the bills together represents a cynical attempt to create a ‘must pass’ piece of legislation without reasoned debate on separate topics.”

Copyright © 2024 Adnet Media. All Rights Reserved. XBIZ is a trademark of Adnet Media.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission is prohibited.

More News

Phoenix Marie Sues Aylo, Danny D Over Incident on Digital Playground Set

Phoenix Marie has filed a lawsuit against Aylo, performer/producer Danny D and other defendants, alleging she has suffered defamation and damage to her career over a 2023 incident on a Digital Playground set in Spain.

New Premium Creator Platform 'Lemon Social' Launches

Premium creator platform Lemon Social has debuted.

Atlanta Authorities Renew Attack on Adult Boutique Tokyo Valentino

The saga of beleaguered Georgia adult boutique Tokyo Valentino continues with a renewed attempt by authorities to shut down another of its locations.

MomPOV Producer Pleads Guilty in GirlsDoPorn Case

MomPOV producer Doug Wiederhold, who was formerly the partner of GirlsDoPorn owner Michael Pratt as well as the first male talent for GDP, pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal conspiracy charge.

Streamate Exec Liz Rek Joins FSC Board

The Free Speech Coalition board of directors has tapped Streamate executive Liz Rek as its newest member, effective immediately.

2024 XBIZ Creator Awards Nominees Announced; Voting Now Live

XBIZ is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2024 XBIZ Creator Awards, presented by Fansly.

Adult Site Broker Talk's Bruce Friedman Reflects on Podcast Success

The 200th episode of “Adult Site Broker Talk” will air next week, with 2023 XBIZ Performer of the Year Cherie DeVille as the featured guest.

FSC Asks Supreme Court to Overturn 5th Circuit Decision, Strike Texas' Age Verification Law

Free Speech Coalition (FSC) filed a petition for certiorari on Friday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Fifth Circuit panel decision that partially upheld Texas’ controversial age verification law.

Details Emerge About Capture, Arrest of GirlsDoPorn's Michael Pratt

Further details have emerged in the past week about the capture and arrest of GirlsDoPorn owner Michael Pratt in Spain in December 2022, following his extradition to the U.S. last month.

Magdalene St. Michaels, Andy Rodrigues Named as AEBN Top Stars for Q1 of 2024

AEBN has announced its top-selling stars for the first quarter of 2024, with Magdalene St. Michaels landing atop the leader board for straight theaters and Andy Rodrigues heading up the gay rankings.

Show More