West Virginia Senate Bill 447

Summary

Senate Bill 447 bars any retailer from selling any devices that allow access to the internet without active and operating digital blocking capability” that blocks obscene material. [West Virginia does not have a harmful to minors law.]

The filters must also block child pornography, “revenge porn” (West Virginia does not have a statute) and websites known to facilitate prostitution and human trafficking. The filters must be regularly updated to ensure effectiveness in blocking obscenity.

This bill is based on a model bill drafted by the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (HTPA) campaign. The campaign’s goal is to block access to sexual material and other content on the internet by enacting laws in all the 50 states and Congress to force manufacturers, distributors and retailers to install and activate filtering software on any device that allows access to the internet. In 2017, 14 HTPA bills have been introduced in 12 states. Click here to learn more about the campaign.

Status

SB 447 was referred to Judiciary Committee on 2/27/2017.

Analysis

>>The filter can only be deactivated by an adult who goes through a four step process:

  • The adult makes a written request.
  • Presents identification proving he or she is 18 or older.
  • Acknowledges receiving a written
  • Pays a $20 “access” fee.

A retailer who violates this section is subject to six months of incarceration and a fine of up to $1000, or both.  If the customer is a minor, it is up to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine, or both. The attorney general can sue to enforce other parts of the legislation.

History

The bill was introduced on February 23, 2017 and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.