Want to watch porn on the internet?

No problem. Just fork over $20 to the state of Hawaii to remove a blocker.

That’s the apparent intent of three bills before the Legislature touted as efforts to fight human trafficking.

The bills are similar to ones introduced in more than a dozen other states over the past year. They’re being promoted by a man who once filed lawsuits in several states to marry his own computer as a protest against gay marriage, and sued Apple for allowing him to become addicted to porn, according to news reports.

Civil Beat contacted the man, Chris Sevier, by phone. “Sorry, I’ve got to go, buddy,” he said before ending the call.

State Sen. Mike Gabbard said he introduced a version of the bill last year after being contacted by John Gunter, an associate of Sevier from an entity called the Clean Services Foundation.

Gunter and another man joined Sevier in a Utah lawsuit in which he sought to marry his computer, saying they planned to have a polygamous relationship, according to news reports.  A federal judge threw out the lawsuit.

Senator Mike Gabbard cesspool forum.

Sen. Mike Gabbard introduced one of the bills that would require people to pay a $20 fee to watch online pornography, saying, “A lot of this is having a conversation about these issues.”

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Gunter did not respond to interview requests.

Gabbard said he was unaware of Sevier’s past, but said he hoped the bill would raise money to combat sex trafficking.

“A lot of this is having a conversation about these issues,” he said.

Gabbard’s Senate Bill 254 and House Bill 567 by Rep. Sam Kong are companion measures. They require those who sell or manufacture products that connect to the internet to include a mechanism to block child pornography, revenge pornography and websites that facilitate prostitution and human trafficking.

The block could be removed if consumers show they’re at least 18, acknowledge they have been informed about the dangers of removing the filter and pay $20 to the state.

It’s unclear what the $20 gets you. Obviously, it’s not meant to open the door to the blocked illegal content such as child pornography. Rather, the bills seem to imply that the $20 would allow access to legal pornography. The manufacturers of computers, smart phones and the like also could charge the consumer a “reasonable” fee.

Contact Key Lawmakers

Manufacturers would have to maintain a reporting mechanism to allow consumers to report porn that was not blocked by the filter, or legitimate content that was filtered.

The fees would go to a fund that would allow the state to make grants to organizations fighting human trafficking.

HB 567 is scheduled to be heard by the Intrastate Commerce Committee on Tuesday. The other measures don’t appear to have hearings scheduled yet.

House Bill 647 by Rep. Sharon Har includes many of the same provisions, with some variations. All three of the bills garnered co-sponsors — more than 20 in the case of Har’s bill.

Har and Kong did not respond to requests to comment on the bills.

Rep Sharon Har floor session. 3 may 2016.

Rep. Sharon Har introduced a House version of the anti-pornography bill.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“I do understand why so many lawmakers are signing onto it” considering it purports to fight human trafficking, said Mandy Fernandes, policy director of the ACLU of Hawaii. “But if passed, it would amount to an unconstitutional act of state censorship.”

ACLU affiliates have been tracking similar legislation in more than a dozen states, she said.

Courts have already made it clear that such fees don’t pass constitutional muster, Fernandes said.

“You cannot censor adult’s access to online speech,” she said. “It violates the First Amendment.”

A Tinder Tax?

Another concern is whether the terms in the bill might be interpreted too broadly. What, exactly, is a hub that facilitates prostitution, for instance? Could it include Facebook or Craigslist or Tinder?

“Is this a Tinder tax?” Fernandes asked.

A consumer would have to go to court to get a legitimate site unblocked.

The Media Coalition, a New York organization that is also tracking the bills, cites several court decisions that have found that mandatory filters run afoul of the Constitution. The group, which advocates for First Amendment protections, says the bills amount to a taxation on speech. Software that accurately filters out banned content and allows permissible websites, all reflecting community standards, is impossible to develop, the group says.

“I do understand why so many lawmakers are signing onto it … But if passed, it would amount to an unconstitutional act of state censorship.” –Mandy Fernandes, policy director of the ACLU of Hawaii.

Consumers could be forced to pay the $20 fee three or four times for each computer, after accounting for modem, router and wifi. A family could end up paying hundreds of dollars, the coalition says. And customers could simply buy equipment in other states to avoid the stigma of deactivating the filter.

So far, the bills in other states have run into some flack. Sevier had named it the “Elizabeth Smart Law” for the Utah woman whose kidnapping in 2002 garnered national attention. But Smart sent a cease-and-desist letter to get her name removed, The Associated Press reported.

An Arizona version of the bill introduced a new twist. The money raised from consumers would help pay for a border wall with Mexico.

Sevier, who according to public records lived most recently in Tennessee and Alabama, has found his way into the news for other reasons. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment after being accused of stalking country music star John Rich, the Daily Beast and others reported. Then there was the 2013 suit against Apple for failing to warn him about the dangers of porn, which he said led to his failed marriage, according to Time magazine.

In at least one other state, a lawmaker withdrew the Sevier-inspired bill after learning more about the man who pushed it. The Associated Press reported that Rhode Island state Sen. Frank Ciccone killed the bill after learning of its “dubious origins.”

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