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A photo of the statehouse on a bright day

Source: (PHOTO: Abdul-Hakim Shabazz/WIBC)

STATEHOUSE — It was a nearly unanimous vote in the State Senate to pass a bill that would require Hoosiers to verify their age in order to access porn websites in Indiana.

The bill states that porn websites must use a “reasonable age verification method” in order to keep people under the age of 18 in Indiana from accessing porn on the Internet. According to State Sen. Mike Bohacek (R-Michiana Shores), that means inputting your driver’s license information in order to get said access.

“We have children that are seeing hardcore content before they even have their first kiss,” Bohacek said to the full Senate Thursday. “We have a real mental health problem with our children in the state of Indiana. Our kids are growing up too fast and they do not have the cognitive functioning to deal with that.”

Other state senators like Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) say it’s absurd that there are age restrictions on things like cigarettes, alcohol, and other things you can purchase at a sketchy gas station, but that there are no such restrictions when it comes to Internet porn.

“We can no longer afford to pretend that the pornography that is accessible to minors today is as mildly graphic and difficult to find as it was in the 1980s,” Deery said.

The vote was 44-1 to pass the bill on to the Indiana House. The only “no” vote came from State Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) whose only qualm with the bill has to do with the security of a person’s information.

“When I verify my age with a verifying agency, what confidence do any of us have that they will not take our personal information and sell it,” Taylor said. “What about the law-abiding citizens who should be able to enjoy these sites because they are an adult?”

Taylor is also worried that the agencies used to verify a person’s age may be located outside the US in places like the Philippines or China.

The bill does make it illegal for a person or entity that conducts age verification to retain the identifying information of an individual seeking access to a porn site.

Having passed the State Senate it is now up to Indiana House lawmakers to take a look at it before sending it to the governor.