Lawmaker proposes taxing pornography to pay for the wall


Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, watches the vote on her sponsored bill SB1400, a water supply bill, as it passed on the Senate floor at the Arizona Capitol, Wednesday, May 4, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A lawmaker in Arizona has proposed a way to fund the wall that’s getting quite a bit of attention.

The new bill, introduced by Republican State Senator Gail Griffin, would tax pornography and put the money towards several things – including the border wall.

HB 2444 would require pornography distributors to block access to potentially obscene materials. The block would only be deactivated if a person paid a $20 fee and provided identification proving they are 18 or older. The bill states the chief executive officer of the Arizona Commerce Authority would be able to annually adjust the fee to account for inflation.

The money from the tax would be put into a special fund that would provide grants to government agencies and private entities for a variety of projects. 

According to the bill, those projects include building a wall on the Mexican border or funding border security, providing physical and mental health services, assisting school districts, compensating crime victims and funding shelters and dream centers.

KVOA reached out to Sen. Griffin about the proposal. In an email, she said, “The language for HB 2444 was at the request of a constituent. The bill is not going anywhere. There is no story here.”

Representatives of the pornography and adult entertainment industry are calling the proposal unconstitutional and want to know why she proposed it if she knew it was going nowhere.

“It’s unconstitutional to tax speech regardless of whether or not it’s pornography or political journalism,” Michael Stabile of the Free Speech Coalition said. “Our question to them would be why did you put forward this stigma-filled proposal?”

Griffin is the only legislator named on the bill. So far it is not scheduled for any readings or votes. It does, however, have people talking.

You can read the full text of the bill here.

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