COLUMBIA, S.C.—Perhaps taking a cue from the outsized wins by Republican legislators across the country, and particularly in the Southeast, South Carolina Reps. Bill Chumley and Mike Burns have introduced legislation that would require retailers selling computers within the state to include mandatory filtering software designed to prevent users from accessing sexually oriented materials—and would force purchasers to pay a $20 fee to have such access restored.

Styled the "Human Trafficking Prevention Act," House Bill 3003 would, among other things, supposedly "ensure that all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible on the product"; "prohibit the product from accessing any hub that facilitates prostitution"; and "render websites that are known to facilitate any trafficking of persons, as defined in Section 16-3-2010(9), inaccessible." The bill would also require that those who want to see the sexual material and/or find a prostitute to request such access in writing, along with some sort of verification that the person is 18 years old or older, and that he/she "acknowledges receiving a written warning regarding the potential danger of deactivating the digital blocking capability." (Exactly what that danger is supposed to be is not disclosed in the bill.)

Failure to include filtering software on a computer manufactured, sold or distributed in the state would subject the maker/seller/distributor to a fine "in the discretion of the court" (could be $10, could be $10,000,000) and/or up to three years in prison for "Communicating obscene messages to other persons without consent" (Section 16-15-250), though for the greater crime of "Disseminating obscene material to person under age eighteen" (Section 16-15-345), the penalty is a mandatory prison term of up to ten years, while for "Disseminating harmful material to minors and exhibiting harmful performance to minor" (Section 16-15-385), add a $5,000 fine to that prison term.

On the other hand, "A manufacturer or wholesaler that manufactures, distributes, or sells a product that makes content accessible on the Internet may elect to pay a twenty dollar opt-out fee for each product that enters this State's stream of commerce." (Apparently the internet is safe enough that if manufacturers don't want to include filters on the PCs, they can pay the state for that "privilege"—and tube site xHamster has announced the creation of a fund that would pay the $20 fee for manufacturers, and give consumers who opt out of the filtering a $20 credit when accessing the xHamster site.)

Even better, companies/individuals that supply non-filtered computers but don't pay the $20 fee may find themselves the victims of "injunctive relief," which likely means the company would be prohibited from doing business in the state, and also, "If a business, manufacturer, wholesaler, or individual is unresponsive to a report of obscene material that has breached the filter, the consumer or Attorney General may file a civil suit" which would allow the state or a consumer (shades of Prop 60!) to "seek damages of up to five hundred dollars" from the miscreant.

Any funds collected that don't go to the consumer will be used to "help fund the operations of the Human Trafficking Task Force and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force."

The entire bill can be read here. It is expected to be taken up when the state legislature reconvenes in the new year—and it's hardly the only such bill that state legislatures around the country will be considering. But more on that later.

Fun fact: Chumley and Burns, according to Daily Dot, "also co-sponsored the South Carolina Natural Marriage Defense Act, which aims to define marriage as between one man and one woman."

"If we could have manufacturers install filters that would be shipped to South Carolina, then anything that children have access on for pornography would be blocked," claimed Rep. Chumley, who is apparently clueless regarding how easily such blocking software can be defeated. "We felt like that would be another way to fight human trafficking"—which of course has little to nothing to do with the vast majority of sexually explicit material produced in the U.S.. In fact, of the 58 human trafficking victims reported in South Carolina this year, none have been linked to online sexual content.

Not that such statistics have had any effect on Rep. Chumley: "The human trafficking thing has exploded," Chumley told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. "It's gotten to be a real problem. It’s where almost everybody has access to a computer now. It’s porn on demand. We have to start somewhere. ... We’re bringing attention to it. We’re not being political. It’s an issue I’m pretty passionate about."

Of course! How could wanting to suppress sexual speech possibly be "political"?!?

Even the reactionary Daily Caller News Foundation (!) (formerly simply The Daily Caller, frequent purveyor of what's been described as "fake news") understood that such a measure would fall afoul of several previous U.S. Supreme Court decisions, but possibly the South Carolinians expect that soon-to-be-President Trump's Supreme Court pick(s) will manage to change that precedent—not to mention, "How exactly a manufacturer would be able to comply is not yet known," considering that the law would require that manufacturer to be aware of all child porn, revenge porn, porn using trafficked persons, and prostitution sites on the internet and filter them out accordingly.

Similar laws have been attempted in other states and had either failed to be enacted or were struck down by federal courts, such as Pennsylvania's criminal statute Title 18 Sec. 7330. And then, there's always the original obscenity-in-the-home case, Stanley v. Georgia, where Justice Thurgood Marshall, writing for the U.S. Supreme Court majority, stated, "Whatever may be the justifications for other statutes regulating obscenity, we do not think they reach into the privacy of one’s own home. If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch."

But Supreme Court dictum apparently means little to Chris Sevier, the attorney who created 23 versions of the "Human Trafficking Prevention Act" for conservative state legislators everywhere from Arizona to New Jersey.

Sevier, who's stated that he's "hardcore involved in the music industry," and according to LinkedIn is currently the "CEO, Producer, Attorney at Severe Records LLC" in Los Angeles, apparently "lost his law license in Tennessee due to mental illness attributed to his military service in Iraq," according to a story published last April on RawStory.com—and that barely scratches the surface of Sevier's incredible history. In 2013, for instance, Sevier "was charged with stalking country singer John Rich in 2013 as part of a long-running dispute, which included lawsuits, restraining orders and bizarre emails," then later that year faced similar charges over "stalking a teenage girl ... after police said he harassed the girl for months over a conversation he overheard at a coffee shop." But perhaps Sevier's main claim to "fame" was his "lawsuit against the Harris County [TX] district clerk, Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, arguing that he has been denied civil rights to marry the Mac computer he uses to create electronic dance music, reported the Midland Reporter-Telegram." The suit was Sevier's attempt to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

But as is most pertinent here, three years ago, Sevier sued Apple Computer in order to force the company to "sell all of its products in safe mode to limit access to Internet pornography."

"Apple’s product was not adequately equipped with safety features that would have otherwise blocked unwarranted intrusions of pornographic content that systematically poisoned his [Sevier's] life," Sevier argued in a 50-page complaint, sections of which are quoted in an article on the website Above The Law.

"Some doors are better left unopened," Sevier writes on his website. "'Prevention,' not 'prosecution,' needs to be the priority legislative focus when it comes to human trafficking and child harm. The Human Trafficking Prevention Act (HTPA) makes manufacturers and wholesalers of products that distribute the internet sell their products with preset filters that automatically block human trafficking hubs, prostitution sites, revenge pornography, child pornography, and obscenity. The bill will protect children, families, and consumers from exposure to criminal liability and obscene content. If a consumer is over 18 and wants the filter deactivated, they have to first verify their age at the retail store and provide consent after receiving a warning and paying a filter deactivation tax that will go to fund the state's victim funds and family groups that are combating sexual assault, human trafficking, domestic violence, divorce, and pornography. This bill has been written for all 50 states and is set to roll out at the 2017 legislative sessions."

If Sevier's words seem familiar, it's only because they have been parroted by Rep. Chumley in arguing for H. 3003—and will undoubtedly find favor with legislators in the other 22 states that Sevier has so far targeted.

Be afraid ... be very afraid.

Pictured: Chris Sevier.