Pornography, an idle online vice? Not to Arizona lawmakers who are pushing to have it declared a "toxic" public health crisis, the Arizona Republic reports. "Like the tobacco industry, the pornography industry has created a public health crisis," State Rep. Michelle Udall told lawmakers in introducing the measure. "Pornography is used pervasively, even by minors." The Republican's proposal—which contends that online porn is "potentially" addictive, hypersexualizes children, and may lead to "emotional, mental and medical illnesses"—would lack legal teeth but could lead to online-porn restrictions. Udall's resolution got through a committee on a party-line vote and will head to the Arizona House, where Republicans have a slight majority, per CNN.
The measure re-triggered an ongoing debate about online pornography, which has been criticized and shrugged off by a variety of conflicting studies. Arizona Democrats walked a middle line by saying porn addiction is an issue but Udall's measure lacks scientific evidence. One Democrat asked why proponents of the bill aren't seeking sex education in schools if they're so worried about the sexual health of minors (Arizona allows sex-ed classes but doesn't require them, notes the Phoenix New Times). Another state lawmaker has her own plan: Rep. Gail Griffin, a Republican, has proposed a $20 tax for state residents who want to access online porn—to help fund a border wall, the Arizona Mirror reports. Her bill has not received a hearing. (Inmates in one state are fighting a pornography ban.)