Two bills introduced in the Kansas House on Wednesday generate funding for human trafficking programs by requiring all new internet-capable telephones or computers sold in the state to feature anti-pornography software and by mandating adult entertainment businesses in the state charge a special admissions tax.
Sabetha Rep. Randy Garber sponsored legislation mandating the software installations and permitting purchasers to pay a $20 fee to the state, and whatever cost was assessed by retail stores, to remove the filters for pornographic material. No one under 18 would be allowed to have the filter software deleted.
"It's to protect children," said Garber, a Republican. "What it would do is any x-rated pornography stuff would be filtered. It would be on all purchases going forward. Why wouldn't anybody like this?"
He said it wouldn't be surprising if the bill, if adopted as law, generated legal challenges. He said marketers of technology equipment could be expected oppose the bill as a state government overreach into private business transactions. Free-speech organizations say this type of legislation would be unconstitutional.
Rep. Tim Hodge, a North Newton Democrat, said the scourge of human trafficking was obvious, but the bill proposed by Garber to require filters on all new devices attached to the internet was improper.
"Part of being an adult is not legislating morality," Hodge said. "If Randy Garber wants to craw into everybody's bedroom, that is more creepy than the activity he is trying to prevent. I thought we still lived in America. We all took a oath to uphold the constitution."
Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, R-Overland Park, said he hadn't reviewed the House bill. "At first blush, it's probably too intrusive," he said.
Garber's other bill would impose a $3 door charge at strip clubs, bookstores, theaters or any other business catering to consumers of adult entertainment. A similar bill previously introduced in the House would initiate a $5 entrance fee.
"It's kind of sad we have this problem. We're a free nation. With freedom comes responsibility. Sometimes we don't exercise the way we should," Garber said.
Revenue from Garber's bills would be deposited in a fund controlled by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt to reduce the incidence of human trafficking.