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Protect Tennessee Minors Act  advances at State Level

The Criminal Justice Subcommittee this week advanced legislation to further  protect children from accessing pornography online.  

The Protect Tennessee Minors Act, sponsored by State Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain, would require website owners to implement an age-verification process if 33.3 percent or more of their total content was harmful to  minors. 

“We don’t allow those under 18 to go into adult entertainment establishments and  we don’t allow them to access certain materials,” Hazlewood said. “Unfortunately,  in the cyber world it is much easier for children to access it.”

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“All of us are aware of the exponential increase in mental health issues, particularly with our children, and I sincerely believe that this is one of the causes,” she added.

national survey found that 73 percent of teen respondents between the ages of  13 and 17 admitted to having viewed pornography online. 

The legislation would require owners of websites with adult content to match a  user’s photo to a valid form of identification issued in the United States. Stored data must not include any personal identifying information and the active user must  remain anonymous after access has been granted.

Search engines, internet service providers and public interest broadcasts and  publications would be excluded from the age verification requirement. Any website  owner or operator found to be in violation of the law would face a Class C felony.

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House Bill 1614 is scheduled to be heard in the Criminal Justice Committee on  March 19.  

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