Missouri Lawmakers Introduce Competing Age Verification Proposals

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.State lawmakers in Missouri have introduced proposals that would require mandatory age verification for adult users looking to access pornography websites.

A total of four bills are currently filed in both chambers, with two bills looking virtually identical.

According to the Free Speech Coalition, the four bills are House Bills (HB) 1993, 1426, 1855 and Senate Bill (SB) 961.

HB 1993, introduced by Rep. Sherri Gallick, implements such a policy as a private right of action, with requirements for age verification mechanisms, digital ID, and “commercially reasonable methods” that rely on publicly available and sensitive transaction data.

HB 1426, proposed by Rep. Mike McGirl, and HB 1855, proposed by Rep. Brad Banderman, are virtually identical. McGirl’s bill is likely to supersede Banderman’s bill, given that it has a fiscal note and legislative explanation.

SB 961, proposed by Assistant Senate Minority Leader Doug Beck, is a proposal that would institute a civil action against adult companies that decline to comply with AV.

Beck’s bill might see traction.

“Under the act, a commercial entity shall not publish or distribute material harmful to minors, as defined in the act, on the internet from a website that contains a substantial portion, defined in the act, of such material unless the commercial entity performs age verification to ensure that an individual attempting to access the material is at least 18 years of age,” reads a bill summary on SB 961. “Violations of provisions of this act may be reported to the Attorney General. If the Attorney General finds that a commercial entity violated provisions of this act, the Attorney General shall bring a civil action against a commercial entity for such violations.”

AVN reported last month that another Missouri lawmaker, Republican state Sen. Rick Brattin, wants to introduce pornography content filters at the level of internet service providers.

Note: Since publication, SB 961 was withdrawn by the sponsor. This action took place on January 4.