Lawmaker wants to tax porn users to help fund the border wall




A GOP lawmaker has a novel idea for how a border wall with Mexico should be funded: Force every Arizonan who wants to access pornographic material on an electronic device to pay $20.

Republican Rep. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, has introduced House Bill 2444, which would make “distributors” of devices that allow access to the internet install software to make the offending material not viewable. To remove the blocking software, a person would have to pay the state $20.

Those distributors, which include both manufacturers and retailers, would also be able to impose their own fees for removing the blocker.

“It’s pretty clearly unconstitutional,” said Mike Stabile, a spokesman for the Free Speech Coalition. The Free Speech Coalition is a non-profit that lobbies on behalf of the adult entertainment industry.

The bill is not something new to the adult entertainment industry, but “the border wall twist is new,” Stabile said.

Similar bills have been proposed in recent years in Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Utah, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

The bill also appears to be connected to a prominent anti-gay activist who is most famously known for attempting to marry his computer in protest over gay marriage.

Griffin was not available to comment on HB2444.

Porn tax for border security

The bill proposed by Griffin is similar to other legislation proposed elsewhere, in that all computers and other devices that can access the internet, like tablets and mobile phones, sold in Arizona would have mandatory blocker software pre-installed.

Any distributor who fails to do so would  be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

Arizonans who wished to access pornographic material online would have to make a request to do so, prove they are at least 18 years old, acknowledge they understand that removing the blocking software will expose them to obscene material and pay a one-time $20 fee to the State of Arizona, plus whatever fee the company who installed the blocker requires.

The $20 fee, which would go to the Arizona Commerce Authority, could be changed on an annual basis by the agency’s leader.

All money collected by the state to allow electronic devices to access pornography would be deposited in the John McCain Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Fund, which the bill creates. The Commerce Authority, in conjunction with the director of the Department of Public Safety, would give grants out of the fund “to uphold community standards of decency” and “developing, expanding or strengthening programs for victims of sex abuse.”

At the top of the list of 10 explicit things the grants can be used for is “build a border wall between Mexico and this state or fund border security.”

Other grant purposes include mental health services, temporary housing, assisting victims, training, assisting school districts and assisting law enforcement.

It is unclear if the McCain family is supportive of the legislation or a fund created in the late senator’s name.

In addition to the blocking mechanism, the bill would also allow any private citizen or the attorney general to sue a company that fails to block a website’s material after it has been notified of the offending material.

“This is the first we’ve seen this legislation or heard of this concept,” Ryan Anderson, a spokesman for Attorney General Mark Brnovich, told Arizona Mirror.

“He’s a bit of a jokester”

The bill appears to be linked to a man named Chris Sevier, who has been behind similar measures and runs a website named “Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Act,” which is also the short title of Griffin’s HB2444.

Last year, Sevier was issued a cease and desist by Elizabeth Smart, whose name he had been using on similar legislation in Rhode Island.

In 2017, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, a group that advocates against pornography, demanded Sevier quit claiming the organization supported his work, according to the Associated Press.

Sevier’s most prominent and famous incident came in 2013, when he attempted to sue Apple claiming that his MacBook was responsible for his porn addiction.

In 2017, Sevier sued the state of Utah for not recognizing his marriage to his laptop in an attempt to undermine gay marriage. His suit, which also demanded a Colorado baker make his electronic bride a wedding cake, was thrown out.

“He’s been doing this all across the country,” Stabile said, adding that “he’s a bit of a jokester.”

At least 18 states have seen some form of Sevier’s bill appear, all of which have been shot down.

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.

20 COMMENTS

  1. How about just taxing the hell out of anyone stupid enough to be or vote for an ignorant hypocritical frigid Republican like she is ???

  2. The biggest users of Porn are mormons, so hey you will have a huge wall. ! Unbelieveable utah was planning this same bill as Utah #1 in porn.

  3. Are you aware that she is in favor also of reducing property values for “higher valued” neighborhoods purely because she happens to live in one?

  4. Here’s the most important thing. Where did you find that cable? Looks like the one used on old IBM keyboards from the 80s.

  5. It is funny that the vast majority of online porn consumption comes from “red states”, so she is proposing that those in the MOST religion states in the US pay the bulk of the cost of the wall. Google “surprising-new-data-the-world-s-most-popular-porn-site” and see what the results show.

  6. I love that Republicans are continually feeding the public examples of why they lack the psychological profile required to run a successful country. They seem to be a conduit for senility.

  7. Republicans keep saying that they want personal liberty for everyone, but the reality is that they are always pushing us closer to being Saudi Arabia.

  8. Um, if you’re going to “tax” porn (a stupid idea) then the “tax” would be better utilized using it to help non-profit groups involved with stopping human trafficking.

  9. What do you expect from The Meth Lab of Democracy? Hey, Arizona folks, you elected the woman who coined that phrase to the US Senate. Don’t blame me for noticing.

  10. What the heck does pornography have to do with this ridiculous unnecessary ecologically dangerous stupid wall ??? Just tax the rich guys who have sex with porn stars 🌟 . They clearly have ample spare change

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here