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House declares pornography ‘public health risk’

On a voice vote, the Florida House Tuesday approved a resolution recognizing pornography as a “public health risk.”

That was after a House Democrat pressed the sponsor why he didn’t think gun violence was a more pressing health risk in Florida.

The resolution (HR 157) doesn’t carry the force of law, but simply memorializes a “need for education, prevention, research, and policy change to protect the citizens of this state.”

Spano

The measure was filed by Dover Republican Ross Spano, also a candidate for Attorney General. Similar measures have been filed or adopted in other states, including Utah, Tennessee and Virginia.

Spano changed the original language, however, from terming pornography a “public health crisis” to a “public health risk.”

But he was challenged Tuesday by Orlando Democrat Carlos G. Smith, who mentioned that his proposed assault rifle ban (HB 219) can’t get a hearing, including in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee chaired by Spano.

Smith was soon shut down by Speaker pro tempore Jeanette Nuñez, who asked for other questions.

Spano later said he was “hurt, maybe a little offended” at Smith’s questions.

Smith

Smith soon tweeted, “17 in Parkland were just murdered w/an AR-15, + the FL House just passed @RossSpano’s HR 157 declaring PORN as a public health risk. No, GUN VIOLENCE is a public health crisis + Spano blocked HB 219 banning assault weapons in his committee for 2 yrs. #GOPpriorities”

A companion resolution in the Senate (SR 480), backed by Lakeland Republican Kelli Stargel, has not been heard. It maintains the “public health crisis” language.

Written By

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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