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Kansas Legislature Brands Pornography a Public Health Hazard, Florida Could Be Next

Kansas state Rep. Randy Powell (R) admitted having a problem with pornography last year when he endorsed House and Senate resolutions branding porn a public health hazard.

“I am someone who has been personally impacted in my past by the addictive power of pornography,” Powell said. “In my recovery, I have worked with many teenagers and young men in fighting to overcome the grip of pornography addiction.”

Now that Powell has that smut monkey off his back, he has experienced “what life looks like on the other side of addiction; what true and growing freedom looks like.”

The Kansas House passed its anti-porn resolution last year. The Senate followed suit Feb. 6.

Both resolutions declared pornography to be a “public health hazard that leads to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms.”

Lisa Thompson, vice president of research and education at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told PJM the Kansas Legislature’s stand against porn was just one more step in a journey that began with the Utah Legislature declaring pornography to be a public health crisis in 2016.

Democratic state Sen. David Haley called that assertion “almost laughable.”

“The creation of a hazard where one does not exist could funnel precious funding toward what is indeed not a health crisis, when we really need those dollars for true health crises,” Haley said. He was one of four who voted against the measure.

“It’s a knee-jerk reaction to buzzwords. People feel like they have to stand up to some of the perceived ills of society,” Haley told the Huffington Post. “Regrettably, though, even some lawmakers don’t take the time to fully read what it is they’re passing.”

PJM reported in 2016 that Utah state Sen. Todd Weiler warned pornography had reached “epidemic proportions” when he introduced the resolution that started this revolt against pornography.

“This isn’t just some right-wing idea,” Weiler said. “This is actually based on real research and real science. Like everything, including global warming, not all scientists will agree. But there is plenty of science that supports the concepts of this resolution.”

“(Utah’s resolution) touched a nerve with the American public,” Thompson said. “The National Center on Sexual Exploitation was immediately contacted by concerned citizens and legislators from across the country who recognize that easy accessibility and large-scale usage of pornography contributes to a wide range of harms.”

“There is no doubt that there is a growing movement of people working to shine a light on the effects of pornography,” Thompson added.

State lawmakers in Utah, South Dakota, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana have approved resolutions similar to the Kansas proposal. They don’t take the constitutionally dangerous step of trying to outlaw porn. But Thompson said the actions do “play an important role in educating the general public about the harm associated with pornography use.”