State Rep. Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville) wants to address the pornography epidemic. She has a resolution on pornography she filed last year, which declares pornography a public health crisis.
“I think that this is one of the most swept-under-the-rug mental health issues that we have in this country,” she said. “Pornography virtually operates uninhibited over the internet now.
Salmon referenced statistics that show 93 percent of all college-aged men have viewed pornography.
“You’re talking about almost 100 percent coverage,” she said. “So we really need to do something to address it. It’s just being swept under the rung. People are plagued by it. The burden is falling on families to opt-out of it. That should not be the default mode. The default mode should be protection for families and children. If someone wants to view it, they ought to have to opt-in.”
Salmon acknowledged some concern with First Amendment issues that may arise when discussing pornography, but she’s working on bills to address that as well.
Another bill requires digital filters on all internet capable devices.
“There’s the physical blinder rack in stores that prevents people from seeing Playboy, for example,” she said. “There needs to be a digital blinder rack on the internet for the same purpose. The Supreme Court has upheld physical blinder racks as constitutional. There’s no reason we can’t have the technology catch up to that.”
Another angle Salmon is exploring is ways to make it easier for parents to bring lawsuits against distributors of porn if minors get access. She also wants to make the damages high enough that attorneys will be enticed to take the case while making the burden of proof low enough that it’ll reach that standard of proof.
“If we can do that, then that will put the distributors of pornography on notice,” she said. “They have to cooperate and make sure that minors don’t get access, and they can figure out how to do it. They know how to structure those computers and all that in order to keep it out of the hands of minors.”
Finally, she wants to address the fact that schools and libraries in Iowa are not subject to Iowa’s obscenity statutes.
“That definitely needs to be removed so the legal basis for drag queen story hours can be removed,” Salmon said.