SALT LAKE CITY, UT—Most mainstream news outlets pooh-poohed the idea that anything harmful would come from Utah having passed Resolution 9, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)-written resolution that declared sexually explicit material—"pornography"—to be a public health crisis. However, those more familiar with how both conservative governments and religious pressure groups deal with the material were less sure how "benign" the resolution would turn out to be—and now, state Sen. Todd Weiler has proposed a state law that would allow Utah citizens to sue producers of adult internet content if they felt they have been harmed by viewing it or in some other way being exposed to it.

Apparently still in the "drafting" stage, Weiler says his bill would be intended to "send a message to the pornography industry," though exactly what that message is, beyond "don't post porn online or you'll get sued," is unclear.

"I'm trying to kind of track the same path that was taken against tobacco 70 years ago," Weiler told KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. "It's not government coming in and saying what you can and can't watch. It's just basically a message to the pornography industry that if someone in Utah can prove damages from the product, that they may be held liable financially."

To date, of course, no one has ever proven in court that he/she has been damaged by viewing sexually explicit conduct ... but this is Utah, and while Weiler, an attorney, has stated that he doubts whether the "first 30 or so cases" would be successful, he suspects that once enough lawsuits have been filed, at costs of upwards of $100,000 to each company being sued, at least one of them will turn out to be successful.

"I think, eventually, the tide will turn," he said.

Weiler claims the proposed legislation would focus on "porn addiction" among minors and the reality that the internet makes it easier for children to be exposed to porn, he told the Daily Dot, adding that he’s just "trying to protect [children’s] innocence for a few more years."

Weiler also said that the law would not be aimed at performers, as California's recently defeated Prop 60 was.

"The legislation is still being drafted, but I don't see it pertaining to someone who films themselves and uploads it. It's more targeted to websites that are hosting it and charging a fee for distribution, or a production company that acquired the content," he said. "It’s aimed more at a for-profit business that are making money from basically distributing."

In fact, he claims the law wouldn't even be targeting U.S. production companies, but rather sites "outside the U.S." that don't require age verification before being able to access explicit content.

"Right now porn is available without any warnings and labeling, without any protections online," Weiler told The Salt Lake Tribune. "This would just open the valve for a cause of action. Let these attorneys go after these cases."

It's unclear how Weiler or any Utah plaintiff could successfully sue a non-U.S. adult producer for the content it puts on its website, but for those looking to cater to a particular constituency, it's just getting such a law enacted that's the real goal.

It's also possible that the $50,000 which Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wrote into his 2017 budget, which will be given to the Utah Coalition Against Pornography, an NCOSE-allied group, may be used to promote and/or fund such lawsuits.

Currently, Virginia state Del. Bob Marshall has proposed his own "porn as a public health crisis" bill to his state's legislature, and South Carolina state Reps. Bill Chumley and Mike Burns have prefiled a bill to force all computers sold in the state—that bill having been written by anti-porn former attorney Chris Sevier, who has versions ready to go for 22 other states as well. All of this bodes poorly for the adult industry in the coming years under an ultra-conservative federal government, as well as some state governments.

BTW: Weiler also thinks he can put porn filters that actually work on all Utah library computers.