Louisiana will fine adult websites with no age verification

The Louisiana house voted 101-1 to pass House Bill 77, which would let the state attorney general pursue civil penalties against companies that do not comply with a law that requires pornography websites to verify the age of its users.

HB 77 was introduced by local politician Laurie Schlegel (R-Matairie), who is behind Louisiana’s Act 440, the law that took effect Jan. 1 and requires age verification for any website that contains 33.3% or more pornographic material.

HB 77 calls for investigation and pursuit of actions for commercial entities that knowingly and intentionally publish or distribute material harmful to minors and that fail to perform reasonable age verification.

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.”

In an amendment to this blog post 6 June 2023:

The Senate gave unanimous final passage to a bill Saturday that would allow the Louisiana attorney general to investigate and fine — up to $5,000 a day — pornographic websites that do not comply with the age verification law. For entities that “knowingly failed” to follow the law, they face an additional civil penalty of $10,000 per violation, according to language in the legislation.

The bill will now be sent to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is expected to sign it into law.

Rep. Laurie Schlegel, the Republican who authored the age verification law, which went into effect at the start of this year, and the companion bill, said both pieces of legislation are intended to “protect children from the dangers of online pornography.”

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