Indiana Lawmaker Proposes Age Verification Bill

INDIANAPOLIS—A Republican lawmaker in Indiana has announced the introduction of a bill that lays out the framework for an age verification system in the Hoosier State.

Republican state Sen. Mike Bohacek of Michiana Shores introduced the Preliminary Draft 3021 bill as a measure similar to most age verification bills proposed or adopted by Republican-dominated legislatures. 

It shares one similarity to an Ohio age verification proposal that makes it a crime for webmasters and site owners who don't adhere to age-gating rules from state officials. 

An Ohio age verification proposal would make it a felony for adult site operators found to be violating the bill if it became law. It also would be a misdemeanor charge for those who circumvent the state-mandated age gate, namely teenagers, through a virtual private network.

The Preliminary Draft 3021 proposes a misdemeanor charge for a site operator who “knowingly or intentionally” publishes content on the internet with pornographic material without verifying the ages of users logging on from Indiana-based IP addresses, reports local NBC affiliate station WNDU, based in South Bend. Other bill elements include age verification requirements that are “copycat” policies based on the age verification law implemented in Louisiana in January 2023.

Louisiana became the first state in the union to require government ID or “reasonable” measures to ensure that age verification is happening for all web users who visit a website.

Federal courts, so far, have yielded conflicts in case law regarding age verification laws in other states.

A federal district court in Austin, Tex., ruled that a local age-gating law requiring so-called public health labels on websites.

AVN reported that these labels are pseudoscientific and not based on facts.

Correction: The NBC affiliate is in South Bend, not Indianapolis.