Utah Legislature Passes Bill to Require Cell Phone Manufacturers to Install Pornography Filters

The Utah House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that would require cell phones and tablets sold in the Beehive State to contain filters to block pornographic material from reaching a user’s eyes. The bill had previously been approved by the state senate.

The measure, HB72, applies to “smart phones activated in the state on or after January 1 of the year following the year this bill takes effect.” However, it doesn’t truly kick in until five other states pass similar measures.

The bill would require any phone “activated in the state” to “automatically enable a filter capable of blocking material that is harmful to minors.” The filter would “prevent the user of the device from accessing material that is harmful to minors on the device; enable certain users to deactivate the filter for the device or for specific content; and notify the user when content is filtered.”

It also provides a cause of action “for the attorney general or a member of the public” to sue manufacturers who sell devices which do not contain the contemplated filter. Such lawsuits could be brought, the bill says, when “a minor accesse[s] material that is harmful to minors on the device.”

The proposed penalty, “up to $10 for each violation,” would be partially payable to the state’s Crime Victims Reparations Fund. A plaintiff could also obtain actual damages — a move which would in essence force litigators to calculate the dollar amount of the harm caused when someone unwillingly sees a pornographic image. The bill explicitly allows class action lawsuits against technology manufacturers.

Penalties would be assessed after a court examines the following:

(a) the nature and extent of the violation;
(b) the number and severity of the violations;
(c) the economic effect of the penalty on the violator;
(d) the good faith measures the violator took to comply with this part;
(e) the timing of the measures the violator took to comply with this part;
(f) the willfulness of the violator’s misconduct;
(g) the deterrent effect that the imposition of the penalty would have on both the violator and the regulated community as a whole; and
(h) any other factor that the court determines justice requires.

The bill’s authors seem to recognize that technology is not perfect. Any manufacturer who makes a “good faith effort” to provide the contemplated filtering technology would get a pass in court if an offensive image slips through the cracks.

The bill, as the Salt Lake Tribune pointed out, will potentially run into constitutional challenges.

“Even proponents of the measure . . . conceded that the bill is imperfect,” the newspaper said.

In 2016, Utah’s legislature declared pornography a “public health crisis.”

Sen. Jake Anderegg told the paper that the bill “logistically . . . just won’t work” because it forces manufacturers to turn on the contemplated software.  Manufacturers are not sellers; sellers generally handle software matters before handing phones over to consumers, he pointed out.

Still, Anderegg voted in favor of the bill, despite his concerns, because he said he didn’t “want to be the guy” to stand against the bill’s moral stance.

Sen. Kathleen Riebe said she was concerned the bill would cause an “undue burden” on interstate commerce, the paper reported.

Industry groups lobbied against the measure, the website XBIZ, which describes itself as “the world’s leading source for adult industry news and information,” reported recently.

XBIZ noted that Rep. Susan Pulsipher, “a realtor with no technology experience,” sponsored the bill. Sen. Wayne Harper introduced the measure; XBIZ described him as a “staunch anti-porn crusader.”

The ACLU of Utah is against the measure.

The bill now awaits action from the governor, Spencer Cox (R).

I want to know what certain people will be required to turn it off? Do you need to go back to the phone service provider to have it turned off, there by letting everyone know you watch the dreaded nude body? Oh dear get the magic under ware ready. Will it be entered into your account. If a kid borrows the parents phone and it is turned on will the parent be arrested? How many parents will need to ask the kids how to do it for them, just like on the TV? Hugs

HuffPost: A California Experiment Gave People $500 A Month For Two Years. Here’s What Happened.

A California Experiment Gave People $500 A Month For Two Years. Here’s What Happened.
A guaranteed income program gave $500 per month to 125 people in Stockton and found that their job prospects and mental health got better.

Read in HuffPost: https://apple.news/A3zJuXS7PSu6RCSeqXyWk5Q

Shared from Apple News

Donald Trump’s Georgia Rewrite

The former President is unhappy with us for recognizing reality.

From the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal:

Former Presidents and Vice Presidents have told us how psychologically difficult the early months of lost political power can be. We can therefore empathize if former President Trump is frustrated these days, and perhaps that explains his attack on us Thursday over his role in the GOP’s loss of the Senate.

For someone who says we don’t matter, he sure spends a lot of time reading and responding to us. Thanks for the attention.

What really seems to rankle the most famous resident of Mar-a-Lago isn’t his caricature of our policy differences. It’s that we recognize the reality that Mr. Trump is the main reason Republicans lost two Georgia Senate races in January and thus the Senate majority. Mr. Trump refuses to take responsibility for those defeats, contrary to all evidence.

Read the full editorial.

MITCH MCCONNELL WORKING WITH KENTUCKY LEGISLATURE ON SENATE EXIT STRATEGY

https://theintercept.com/2021/03/04/kentucky-mitch-mcconnell-senator-replace/

SENATE MINORITY LEADER Mitch McConnell has compiled a short list of successors in his home state of Kentucky, preparing for the possibility that he does not serve out his full term, Kentucky Republicans tell The Intercept.

The list is topped by his protégé, state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and also includes former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft, whose billionaire coal magnate husband is a major McConnell donor, as well as Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, a former McConnell Scholar.

Under current law, the power to appoint McConnell’s replacement falls to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. But new legislation McConnell is pushing in the Kentucky General Assembly would strip the governor of that power and put it into the hands of the state GOP. 

McConnell’s scramble to secure his legacy comes as his position in the party he effectively built from the ground up is increasingly shaky. McConnell’s denunciation of former President Donald Trump — even as it was accompanied by a vote of acquittal and a pledge to endorse the former president in 2024 if he is the GOP nominee — has brought on calls for his censure by party leaders across the state. A candidate running in McConnell’s mold would face an uphill climb through a primary in the new Republican Party — unless, that is, the candidate has the benefit of incumbency. 

The 79-year-old McConnell has held his Senate seat since 1985 and handily won a seventh term last November.

The new legislation, Senate Bill 228 — dubbed by some inside the state Legislature as the Daniel Cameron Election Bill — was filed on February 10, 2021, during the Kentucky General Assembly’s 30-day “short” session. The bill alters current state statute that allows the governor to appoint a replacement in the event of a vacancy to the U.S. Senate. If the bill becomes law, the appointment to fill a vacancy will be selected from a list of three names submitted by the state executive committee of the same political party as the senator who held the vacant seat. According to the bill, the appointee from that list will then serve until a successor has been elected by voters. The legislation goes on to list instructions on when elections take place in the event of a vacancy.

How long the appointment would last depends on when the vacancy occurred.

Republicans are concerned a successor appointed by Beshear would be someone of Beshear’s own party — rather than who McConnell would like to replace him. 

Republican state Sen. Tom Buford, the single co-sponsor on the bill brought by Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, said there has been a discussion for “several years” about changing the way Kentucky replaces U.S. senators.

“It just seemed if we did have a change of venue of U.S. Senate that it would be proper and appropriate the political party that held the office would be the political party that replaced it until the next election cycle, that being in this case Republican,” he said.

“No specific reason why now,” Buford continued in a phone interview, adding that he believes both McConnell and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul are in “good” health. Buford did say things could have turned out bad for Paul in 2017, after the junior senator was attacked by his Bowling Green, Kentucky, neighbor Rene Boucher. Paul suffered six broken ribs and ended up having part of his lung removed as a result of the attack. 

“That could have resulted in death, so … it sounded like a good idea,” Buford said, listing reasons why Kentucky Republicans would seek to change the law in the months after McConnell’s reelection to seventh term in the Senate. 

“Leader McConnell has discussed the legislation with [Senate] President Stivers and is fully supportive of the measure,” a spokesperson for McConnell confirmed.

Multiple sources say it is McConnell who is pushing this bill, but the claimed reasons for why he is pushing the legislation vary from health concerns to the makeup of the upper chamber.

McConnell’s health has been a concern since boyhood. In 1944, he contracted polio and with his mother’s persistence, the young McConnell recovered and learned to walk again. In 2003, McConnell underwent a triple bypass heart surgery. In late October 2020, McConnell dismissed concerns over his health after appearing with bruised and bandaged hands days before his reelection. The previous year, the Kentucky Republican spent weeks recuperating after a fall which forced him to have surgery for a shoulder injury. 

Other Republicans in the Kentucky Legislature, who asked not to be identified over fear of reprisal from their party, see this move as less about McConnell’s health and more about hand-selecting his replacement and giving that successor the benefit of incumbency. One frustrated Republican elected official, who declined to be named for the same reason, referred to the bill as McConnell’s “escape hatch.”

Inside a small two-story house that carries McConnell’s name, the leadership of the Republican Party of Kentucky is monitoring plans, and according to some, there are already discussions on who could replace him in the event of a vacancy for his seat. There are already three names that consistently come up on the potential list.

McConnell is interested in his legacy, and by picking his replacement, he would cement his vision in Kentucky and national politics.

McConnell has played an outsized role in the public life of those on the list to replace him. It was McConnell who ensured an endorsement for Daniel Cameron from Trump; McConnell also secured a speaking role at the Republican National Convention and an Oval Office meeting for Cameron, who served as McConnell’s general counsel and has a father-son relationship with the senator. Likewise, when many expressed doubts over Kelly Craft’s lack of experience and continual absence from her previous post, it was McConnell who shepherded the megadonor through the Senate confirmation process for the U.N. ambassadorship. His ties to Craft date back to 2004. 

Michael Adams is not as close to the minority leader as the others on the list, but he does run in the same circles as those in McConnell’s inner circle, like Scott Jennings, who ran a super PAC that spent millions to bolster McConnell’s reelection efforts in the bluegrass state. 

Others close to McConnell say he is backing the bill because of the razor-thin margins in the U.S. Senate. For those Republicans, McConnell is seeking to protect the upper chamber from adding an additional Democrat. 

The truth is probably somewhere in between all of these theories: McConnell is 79 years old, he’s a master of the Senate, and he’s focused on his legacy in a state that still strongly supports Trump. This legislation is reflective of the long game he has played his entire career. 

The legislation is currently before the state Senate and then would need to pass the House. Beshear, the Democratic governor, is reportedly opposed to the bill, but Republicans have held veto-proof majorities in both chambers since 2017.