Mississippi House Bill 1


Summary

Mississippi House Bill 1 would make it illegal to disseminate to a minor any “sexually oriented material.” “Sexually oriented material” is defined as any representations or descriptions of actual or simulated nudity or sexual activity. It would criminalize the dissemination of such material to a minor on an electronic device.

Status

The bill failed to pass in the House Committee on Judiciary before the legislature adjourned.

Analysis

The bill’s definition of material that is illegal for minors does not include any of the three prongs of the Miller/Ginsberg test. Though minors do not enjoy the protection of the First Amendment to the same extent as adults, the Court set out the three-part test to identify which sexual material can be barred for minors.

And even if the legislation only barred material that met the Miller/Ginsberg test, it is still unconstitutional if it applies that restriction to material generally accessible on the Internet. Several courts have struck down similar laws criminalizing “harmful to minors” material online, because they restrict the rights of adults to access this material.

History

  • The bill was introduced [2] on January 7, 2014 and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.
  • On January 23, 2014, Media Coalition sent a memo in opposition [1] to the members of the committee, explaining the constitutional issues with the bill.
  • The bill failed to pass out of the House Committee on Judiciary before the legislature adjourned.

Last updated: Sep 14, 2015