Alabama Republican Legislator’s Bill Would Put State In Pornography Business
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, April 7, 2017
Alabama Republican Legislator’s Bill Would Put State In Pornography Business
Jack Williams, a Republican Representative from Vestavia Hills, who represents portions of Jefferson county in Alabama House District 47 has filed HB 428 which would “prohibit the sale of a device that provides Internet access unless the device contains an active filter that blocks access to specified types of obscene material.”
Sounds good, right?
Of course, there are plenty of off-the-shelf subscription services to which anyone can subscribe which blocks such material. And some Internet browsers have such detection systems built-in. It’s not always perfect, and when Super Bowl XXX was played in 1995, it inadvertently created some problems because the Roman numeral X was displayed in triplicate, as if it were associated with some type of pornographic exhibition, and most porn-blocking software blocked the Super Bowl website, and news articles which mentioned “Super Bowl XXX.” That was in the “early days” of the Internet and filtering. Now, Google, and other Internet search engines have made milestones in filtering out objectionable, sexually explicit, and illegal material.
No parent wants their children subjected to such material, and every adult has the right to decide whether they want to view erotic or sexually explicit material, or not. After all, that’s what freedom means… the opportunity to make a decision, even if your neighbor doesn’t like your decision, or vice versa.
But no child should be subjected to exposure to pornography. And no rational adult would even consider doing such a thing, regardless of their personal opinion about erotica, or not. That’s a good parenting decision which rightfully belongs to parents, not the government, because no one wants the government telling them how they should raise their kids… especially in Alabama. And yet, that’s exactly what Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams’ HB 428 does.
Federal laws protect those who decide to become involved in the production of sexually explicit material, and requires proof-positive identification of all participants being aged 18, or older, at the time of production – and has, for many, many years. In fact, Congress enacted the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988 after it was discovered that Traci Lords, then aged 15, had used a fake Ohio Driver License to pose nude for Penthouse magazine in 1984, and shortly thereafter, became involved in production of numerous very popular sexually explicit videos until 1986. When it was discovered she had been deceptive, and was under age 18 at the time of production, production companies, and retailers destroyed all of the material containing her images to avoid prosecution on child pornography charges. Her deliberate deception is regarded by many as the most scandalous within the largely unregulated multi-billion dollar pornography industry.
But back to Alabama.
Vestavia Hills Republican Jack Williams bill HB 428 would penalize consumers, retailers and resellers (which the bill calls “persons,” but calling a business a “person” is another matter altogether), which “bill would establish a procedure for a consumer to have a filter deactivated, impose a filter deactivation fee, and provide for the collection and distribution of the… twenty dollar ($20) one-time filter deactivation fee to the seller, which the seller shall collect on behalf of the state.”
The bill states that “On and after January 1, 2018, a person may not sell a device unless it contains an active filter that blocks or restricts Internet access to sites containing any of the following:
(1) Obscene material.
(2) Child pornography.
(3) Images used for sexual cyberharassment.
(4) Solicitation or offers for prostitution, assignation, or human trafficking.”
Here’s where it gets weird… really weird, in fact.
Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams’ HB 428 bill cites four (actually, five) categories of activities illegal under Alabama state law, which in effect, by allowing transmission of such material, would establish Alabama state government as a distributor of presently-illegal material. In fact, it would make the State of Alabama complicit in criminal activity.
• Child pornography is illegal at the Federal level by 18 U.S.C. § 2251- Sexual Exploitation of Children, and at the state level under Code of Alabama 13A-6-111 Transmitting obscene material to a child by computer.
• Obscene material is illegal at the Federal level through numerous laws 18 U.S.C. § 1460-18 U.S.C. § 2252C, and at the state level in Section 13A-12-200.2 Distribution, possession with intent to distribute, production, etc., of obscene material prohibited; penalties; distribution of fines.
• Though Alabama laws protecting citizens against such are largely, absent, Sexual cyberharassment is presently illegal (as little as it can be, and has largely been ineffectual) by Code of Alabama Section 13A-11-8.
• Human trafficking is illegal under the Code of Alabama as Section 13A-6-152, just as it is under Federal law 22 U.S. Code Chapter 78 – TRAFFICKING VICTIMS PROTECTION.
• Similarly, prostitution is illegal in Alabama as defined in 13A-12-120.
And with the exception of Harassing Communications, which is a Class C misdemeanor, and Prostitution, which is a Class A misdemeanor, all other offenses are felonies.
The absurdity and hypocrisy doesn’t stop there, either.
Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams’ HB 428 bill states that “The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the amendment.”
That’s something almost every Alabamian loathes – as do most Americans.
And by calling a tax a “fee” he also demonstrates cowardice.
In truth, when governmental entity says they’re officially going to charge for something, it’s a tax. Dressing it up in a fancy suit of verbiage won’t change a thing. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. And regardless of the pretty color, you still wouldn’t want to kiss that slobbery ugly snout.
Why the GOP is fearful of taxes, I’ll never know. Taxes pay for valuable governmental services that improve the lives of people in myriad ways. In fact, I’ve long advocated for a State and Federal Pornography Tax. Would any rational human being an objection objection to using the money from such a tax to help pay for select aspects of Human Social Services such as for Abused Women and Children? I sincerely doubt it.
But Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams demonstrates hypocrisy and ignorance as well, because his HB 428 bill would unreasonably burden Industry and Consumers, by requiring Industry to do something Consumers don’t want.
Republicans are apparently all about intimately invasive control measures, so why they don’t tax condoms in Alabama, I’ll never know. A $1 tax per package seems reasonable enough to me. In fact, in Dothan, Alabama, up until 2012, 31 Alabamians produced and packaged condoms at a facility owned and operated by Ansell Healthcare Products LLC. Another plant in nearby Eufaula manufactured medical gloves since 1988, and later condoms, in response to the worldwide AIDS scourge, and eventually moved to Malaysia in 2008.
An interesting side note: Comedian and television game show host Steve Harvey and a business partner purchased the Eufaula facility in 2016, and are now making latex gloves.
Whether sold in a pharmacy, grocery or convenience store, or through a dispensing machine, every condom package sold in Alabama could – and should – be taxed $1, with the revenue going toward Sexual Disease Prevention & Treatment. There’s no rational, reasonable argument against it.
Condoms protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections and pregnancy, and money from such a tax could be used toward Public Health and Maternity Programs.
It’s not as if it’s not needed.
Relatively recent findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Montgomery, Alabama was the most sexually diseased city in the nation – more so than Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New Orleans. Montgomery’s infection rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were 4,371 per 100,000. And the entire state ranks second in gonorrhea cases, third in chlamydia cases, and 23/183 (in the highest 12%) in primary and secondary syphilis cases.
That’s the high cost of ignorance.
But, Alabama’s legislature, ever the geniuses they hope to be, enacted law to combat the ignorance problem in Alabama Code Title 16. Education, Title 16-40A-2, which in part reads:
“(a) Any program or curriculum in the public schools in Alabama that includes sex education or the human reproductive process shall, as a minimum, include and emphasize the following:
(1) Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only completely effective protection against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when transmitted sexually.
(2) Abstinence from sexual intercourse outside of lawful marriage is the expected social standard for unmarried school-age persons.
(b) Course materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should be age-appropriate.
(c) Course materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should include all of the following elements:
(1) An emphasis on sexual abstinence as the only completely reliable method of avoiding unwanted teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
(2) An emphasis on the importance of self-control and ethical conduct pertaining to sexual behavior.”
In essence, what they’ve continued to do, is rely upon Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say ‘No!’” plan.
We see how well that’s worked on the “War On Drugs,” and evidently, it’s been such a phenomenal success, they want to apply it in sexual matters, because Auburn University at Montgomery found that 42.6% of live births in Alabama in 2012 occurred to unmarried women.
Janet Wood, a health teacher at Minor High School, said, “[We are in] the Bible Belt. I think that just like with any other legislature that deals with something that they [the legislators] think goes against God’s will, even though you’re supposed to separate religion and school — I think that very much has something to do with it. Their feeling is, if you teach abstinence everybody is going to follow and learn from that. But [the legislators think] if you teach [the students] how to protect themselves, you’re giving [the students] the okay to do this as long as they protect their self.”
The National Institutes of Health published a report in 2011 that confirmed findings in 2007 and stated that abstinence-only programs may “be contributing to the high teenage pregnancy rate in the United States.” Both reports pushed for a more comprehensive curriculum. But abstinence-only remains the primary curriculum taught in half of the U.S., including Alabama.
Similarly, Alabama’s steadfast reliance upon the abstinence message has either fallen upon deaf ears (unlikely), or it’s incongruous for the legislature to suppose that the power of the human sex drive – particularly and especially with teens – is anything other than overwhelming, and that they’re going to make wise decisions. So given that Alabama is the proverbial buckle of the Bible Belt, the legislature continues to hold fast to plans that have been proven ineffective merely because of their religious beliefs.
Alabama’s philandering, lying governor, a retired physician, hasn’t helped. Nor has the legislature.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over, and over, and over again, expecting different results each time.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.
If you find yourself in a ditch with a shovel, stop digging.
Physician, heal thyself.
Where’s the disconnect?
Read Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams’ HB 428 bill here:
Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams FaceBook page is here:
Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams Twitter page is here:
Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams Official State Legislative page is here:
Vestavia Hills Republican Representative Jack Williams contact information from his Legislative page is:
|District:||House District 47|
|Street:||11 South Union Street|