age verification systemFeaturedHB1614House Bill 1614Mark PodyPatsy HazlewoodpornographySB1643Senate Bill 1643State NewsTennessee

Senator Mark Pody Introduces Bill To Require Age-Verification For Porn Sites In Tennessee

Image Credit: Lars Plougmann / CC & capitol.tn.gov

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

State Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon-District 17) has introduced a bill that would make it a requirement for distributors of online pornography to utilize an age verification system on their sites.

Senate Bill 1643 (SB1643), as introduced, requires “commercial entities that publish or distribute material on an internet website, more than one-third of which is sexual material harmful to minors, to verify that an individual attempting to access the material is 18 years of age or older.”

The legislation would also mandate that the site and any third-party company used to perform the age verification cannot store any of the individual’s information.

This bill is similar to one previously filed by State Representative Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain-District 27), House Bill 1614 (HB1614). 

Hazlewood’s legislation HB1614, as written, applies to individuals or commercial entities that publish websites that “contain a substantial portion of material harmful to minors.” Within the bill is an explanation that “a substantial portion” is 10% or more of the total amount of data on the website.

The House bill stipulates that violations of the age-verification rule would result in a Class C Felony charge.

Pody’s Senate bill would institute a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per day that the website operates without an age-verification system in place and up to $10,000 per instance of identifying information being stored. Additional penalties of up to $250,000 can be incurred if minors are able to access the site because of a fault with the system.

Pody’s bill was introduced and passed on first consideration. Hazelwood’s bill has not yet been formally introduced. The new General Session is set to begin on January 9.

7 other states have considered or passed similar laws already, leading one major porn site to restrict access to its website in those states.

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