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Tennessee law requiring age verification for online porn sites starts Jan. 1

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(The Center Square) – Tennessee will make it a felony for a minor to access an adult content website without age verification starting Jan. 1.

Gov. Bill Lee recently signed the bill into law, making the offense a class C felony and making the entity liable for damages, including attorney’s costs and court fees.

Similar laws have passed in Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Utah and Louisiana – according to the Tennessean – with the Louisiana law being challenged by the Free Speech Coalition on First Amendment grounds.

Senate Bill 1792, known as the Protect Tennessee Minors Act, defines the websites as one that has a “substantial portion of content defined by the legislation as harmful.”

“It is assumed that a majority of entities will either stop publishing such content or will take steps necessary to meet the requirements of this legislation,” the bill’s fiscal note says. “However, it is assumed that the proposed legislation will result in one Class C felony conviction each year.”

Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, R-Signal Mountain, said the law puts the cyber world in line with restrictions placed on adult material in the physical world.

The bill was signed nearly a month after Lee signed the Protecting Children from Social Media Act that requires age verification for people to start social media accounts and requires parental permission for minors to start accounts.

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