- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Utah lawmaker who successfully lobbied to have pornography declared a public health crisis now says he’s drafting a bill that would let internet porn addicts sue X-rated companies for causing emotional and psychological damage.

State Sen. Todd Weiler, a Republican representing Woods Cross, told reporters this week that he’s working on a first-of-its-kind bill aimed at bringing a new layer of accountability to the adult entertainment industry. 

“I’m trying to kind of track the same path that was taken against tobacco 70 years ago,” Mr. Weilertold Salt Lake City’s NBC affiliate Monday. 

While Mr. Weiler hasn’t released the language of his proposal just yet, he suggested to the station that his bill would enable enable porn-addicted residents of the Mormon state to pursue claims against online smut peddlers. 

“It’s not government coming in and saying what you can and can’t watch. It’s just basically a message to the pornography industry that if someone in Utah can prove damages from the product, that they may be held liable financially,” he said. 

“Right now porn is available without any warnings and labeling, without any protections online,” he added in an interview with the Salt Lake City Tribune. “This would just open the valve for a cause of action. Let these attorneys go after these cases.”

Mr. Weiler’s latest anti-porn push comes less than a year after he sponsored a resolution aimed at acknowledging the supposed psychological and physiological harms caused by exposure to pornography. 

“I’m here to agree with many others who have called pornography a plague,” Mr. Weiler said when Republican Gov. Gary Herbert autographed the non-binding resolution at a signing ceremony held in the state Capitol last April. “I’m not naive enough to believe that this is the only health crisis that we are facing, but we need to realize that this is one of many health crises that we are facing.”

At the time, Mr. Weiler called on lawmakers from outside Utah to help “bring this fight to Washington.” While neither the U.S. Congress nor Senate is currently slated to consider any such legislation, however, the Utah-led effort against pornography has reverberated beyond its borders: a Republican delegate to the Virginia Assembly last week said he wants the Old Dominion to become the second state to declare a public health emergency from pornography, and a similar push has erupted among the Tennessee Legislature, the Tribune reported recently. 

Even Mr. Weiler doesn’t think the anti-porn movement will achieve its goals immediately, however. If his forthcoming proposal is approved, the Brigham Young-educated lawyer-turned-lawmaker told KSL that he believes the first 30 or so cases to go before a judge would likely end in losses for the plaintiffs before eventually gaining traction. 

“I’m looking at where we can push the envelope as a state of Utah,” he told the NBC affiliate. “To pretend that this is not having any impact on our youth, on children’s‘ minds as they’re developing, as their attitudes towards sex and the opposite sex are being formed, I think is foolish.”


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