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In 2015, I said I would never forgive the Georgia legislature for putting forth a bill that put me in a position to defend strippers, but the government overreach and unnecessary taxation was just too much to keep quiet. It was a trying time and even still, if you google my name, you’ll be blessed to see information about strippers – all in the name of liberty.

And here we are, two years later, facing another overreach and another tax. The victim this time? Porn.

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State representative Paulette Rakestraw has filed House Bill 509 which would require pauletteretailers to put a “digital blocking capability” on some devices to make “obscene material” inaccessible. Retailers, in this code section, would mean anyone who SELLS or LEASES a device that allows content to be accessed on the Internet. The “blocking capability” is required to make porn, child porn, revenge porn, websites about prostitution, and websites about sex trafficking all inaccessible.

Retailers would be required to have a telephone line where consumers could call to report complaints and it prohibits retailers from giving consumers intel on how to deactivate the blocking program themselves.

Here is the real humdinger: If you are 18 years of age or older, request in writing that you would like to deactivate the program, acknowledge in writing that you understand the dangers (yes, that is really the word they use) of deactivating the program, and pay a $20 fee, you can have the program removed from your device.

You read that correctly. If, as a reasonable, responsible, American adult, you wish to look at obscene material in the privacy of your own home, you have to tell the grandmother at the Wal-Mart check out line that you would like her to delete the program so you can enjoy the device to the fullest extent.

First things first: how does a computer program identify whether or not porn is regular porn or revenge porn? Where does the list of people who consented in writing go? Is the state going to maintain a database of who may one day look at obscene content?

Second, phones, tablets, computers, Smart TVs, AppleWatch, Fitbits – anything that connects to the Internet would be subjected to this $20 fee if you, as an adult, wish to enjoy the luxury of obscenities and adult entertainment. The language is so broad and does not specify what type of content has to be accessible for a device to qualify.

The cover is in the name of the bill. “Human Trafficking Prevention Act.” Your legislators believe that taxing people who watch porn will prevent human trafficking. Say that aloud so you can hear how ridiculous the idea is.

The money will be directed, by way of a Constitutional Amendment, to the “Georgia Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Trust Fund” and then directed to programs for nonpermanent long-term residential mental health and addiction treatment.

Would someone like to explain to me how funding addiction treatment programs is going to help prevent human trafficking?

People who become victims as a result of any violation of the legislation can apply for restitution from the fund for an amount not to exceed three times the amount the original consumer paid the retailer for the device.

At first glance of the bill, I thought the legislation was sponsored by Kim Jong Un, but no, it is our beloved Republicans. Republicans that should obviously hand over their Party cards and get in line for the Communist Express train that is on its way. This is not limited government. This is not low taxation. This is not pro-Constitution.

 

Let’s once again, run through the reasons why something like this is not only inappropriate, but unconstitutional.

Porn is free speech. This is a tax on free speech. A tax on people who wish to exercise and enjoy free speech.

Here’s another thing: By taxing porn, the government is condoning the industry, “allowing” it to exist, if you will. If the risks are SO high for sex trafficking and child pornography, then all porn should be illegal.

The fact that there is no advocacy for eradication of porn just reiterates the point: This isn’t about protecting anyone or helping anyone. It’s about taxing a vulnerable industry that is considered immoral. There is less resistance. After all, who is going to speak out in favor of porn?

Why does a woman like myself, who sees no value in porn – for education or entertainment – have to take on a cause and try to explain to our legislators why free speech protects obscenities?

Now, Crossover Day has come and gone, which means House Bill 509 cannot pass “as-is,” but the legislature has already passed multiple sex trafficking and sex crime bills in both chambers to which this language could be attached. And then, of course, there is next year due to the fact that a bill can be revived in a two-year period.

I told you this would happen. Anyone who opposed the garbage that was Senate Bill 8 knew this would happen. When you give government the authority to tax a business because of preference, not purpose, you set a precedent. A $5,000 annual fee just to run an adult entertainment establishment leads to a $20 fee if you want the privilege to view the dark parts of the Internet while at home…what is next?

Forests, strippers, fireworks and porn. That would be the Georgia Constitution, y’all.

If passed by the legislature, the Constitutional Amendment to make this permanent would be on the November 2018 ballot. The worst part of all is that they will probably get away with it.

The full text of the legislaton is below:

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Profile photo of Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is statewide contributor for All On Georgia and Market Manager for Southeast Georgia. Her main focus with All On Georgia is state and local politics as well as agriculture. She’s served as a policy analyst at the State Capitol and as a campaign manager in political races across the state.

She writes for GeorgiaPol.com and has two blogs of her own: ‘The Perspicacious Conservative’, a political blog, and ‘Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers’, a blog on moving from Atlanta to rural Georgia. Jessica is also a contributor for Fox5 Atlanta’s ‘Like it Or Not.’

12 COMMENTS

  1. Jessica Szilagyi’s articles are terrible. They amount to fake news. This article is rife with false statements and intellectual dishonesty. Her positions are removed from reality, snarky, and dead wrong. In this case she is basically acting like a cheerleader for child exploitation, human trafficking, domestic violence, and female objectification. Her characterization of the bill is laughable shallow, as she tries to rewrite the bill to accord with her own self-serving narrative. She disregards the fact that the act will block prostitution hubs by default – which will single handedly inflict the greatest blow to the demand side of the human trafficking since the inception of the internet. In step with her self-entitlement syndrome she engages in the unauthorized practice of law by pretending that she knows anything about the first amendment, and does not realize that the Supreme Court’s holdings in a litany of cases like Ashcroft v. Am. Civil Liberties Union and Ginsberg back the act just as they upheld the existing physical display statutes on bricks and mortar stores. She is basically floating the idea that children should be allowed to remain in a position where they can exposed to pornography, and pretends that paying $20 to remove a filter is too high of a cost to protect children presumably because she puts her own porn addiction first. If you read this dishonest article and want to learn actual facts: visit humantraffickingpreventionact.com. We highly recommend ignoring any articles released by Mrs. Szilagyi for good cause unless you like reading fake news.

    • As long as Georgia does not make money on it fine. But for the state to gain income from the sex industry…That’s just gross. It borders on Sharia law. Yes, in countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and more the government runs the whore houses. I hope to God Georgia never goes that way.

    • I feel that you are missing the bigger picture here, Tim Williams. This is about the future nanny state that Republicans warned us against but are masterminding. Someone will gain a financial windfall from this and it will result in as about as much change as the war on drugs. Private prisons will be filled to the rafters with arrests and new traffickers will take their place. You will still have desperate people selling themselves and their children. Poverty is the cause of human trafficking. Let’s work on that.

    • .
      Aside from the inability of filters to actually work as programmed, why can’t I visit a prostitution site, just as I can drive down the street in the “red light district” for whatever are my purposes?

      Maybe I’m looking for my runaway daughter.

      Maybe my non-runaway daughter is doing research on breast-cancer for her mother’s and her own health.

      Cervical cancer?

      Safe sex?

      What to do if raped?

      Why does anyone think we need a nanny-state chaperone, or that a nanny-state chaperone would work anyway?

      I guess I’ll just order my gear without Internet access, and order Internet access accessories separately and install them myself.

      What if I don’t have Internet access anyway, I just want a computer for home accounting … networked to my TV for time-shifting the news from over-the-air broadcasting?

      How would I proves that I have no Internet access so I can avoid the crap-filter AND the $20 fee?

      How about USED computers, or computers bought elsewhere from out of state?

      I could just reformat my hard drive and reinstall the operating system from the manufacturer’s CDs and start from scratch with no filter — that’s the way computers used to come, unassembled, no shrink-wrap opened by the store, assemble it yourself.

      I guess BestBuy could have a “here’s a separate hard drive and Windows CD, install it yourself” option.

      But buying out of state sounds best — KILL any Georgia high-tech sales.

      Good plan.
      .

    • Couldn’t disagree with your opinions more, Mr. “Esquire.” First of all, Ms. Szilagyi has done more to fight the pervasive road to hell that your good intentions have paved than any amount of censorship you could dream up. It is your own lack of understanding and ignorance to the 1st amendment that displaces any foundation your sanctimonious disagreement so smugly tries to justify. It seems to me that your energies may better be served in dealing with your own understanding of these immoral acts you champion and their root causes, instead of targeting some abstract filtration system that you deem to be responsible.

    • .
      “… child exploitation, human trafficking, domestic violence, and female objectification …” are the Republican platform.

      The author of the article is referring to the US Constitution, something completely foreign to the Republican platform.

      More importantly, is there a software lobby pushing another “we can filter accurately” sham that is vying for a million dollar contract here?

      Follow the money and you’ll find Greedy Old Politicians.
      .

    • Blocking porn in Georgia will deal the single greatest blow the human trafficking problem?

      Either you’re unaware of the actual size and scope of the problem… or Georgians watch an awful lot of porn.

  2. So this bill would allow the state of Georgia to go into business as just another middleman, not just paddling porn but a pusher of hard core porn. This is dispicable. This is a violation of the first amendment of the US Constitution on several different levels, not just freedom of speech but the freedom of religion.

  3. Weird, the founding fathers who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had no problem banning sodomy, brothels, immorality and the like. Someone should give them a call and tell them what they did was unconstitutional…

    Anyways, states have always had the legal right to ban whatever they deem harmful to society, whether it’s liquor, indecency (being naked in public is just as “free speechy” as this), pedophilia, drugs, whatever. It’s not a matter of free speech and the Supreme Court has ruled against Mrs. Szilagi’s way of thinking time and time again. The logical loopholes, inaccuracies, & fallacies in this article are downright astounding. If anything, the bill should be examined for its effectiveness or lack thereof.

    • .
      How does charging someone to remove unidentified software that doesn’t even exist, has no standards of efficacy or expiration or updating capability or acceptable failure rate over time, has no standards of cost, but the consumer must pay, and everyone will make a profit, designed and sold by entities that do not even exist, forced to be sold in an illegal monopoly unless there’s competition, and if I ran an XXX site, I’d have some script-kiddie design some software myself to shove down the state’s throat for installation on everyone’s Internet access devices, and bill them for it, amount to banning things that are already banned, and how does that ll NOT quash free speech and access to legal information?

      This is just another Republican unConstitutional “get the bigots to the ballot box” sham scam — for shame.
      .

    • .
      … and slavery, and so many other unacceptable things …

      Trying to take this country back, way back, are you, [ BOB ] ?
      .

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