Rhode Island lawmakers have come up with an ingenious new way to raise revenue on residents: a one-time $20 tax on anyone who wants to watch internet porn. A bill proposed by two Democratic lawmakers in the Rhode Island general assembly, Sen. Frank Ciccone and Sen. Hanna Gallo, would require internet providers in the state to block “sexual content and patently offensive material” unless users pay a $20 fee to the state.

The money raised would go to the state attorney general to fund the operations of the Council on Human Trafficking, according to the bill. Lawmakers didn’t specify if they think this is the most effective way to prevent human trafficking, or how they came up with the $20 figure.

The bill actually specifies that all sexually explicit content must be blocked by default, and that subscribers would have to go through an onerous process to unblock it. This isn’t as simple as, say, signing up for a porn website. Blocking is only deactivated after the user:

(1) Requests in writing that the capability be disabled;
(2) Presents identification to verify that the consumer is eighteen (18) years of age or
older;
(3) Acknowledges receiving a written warning regarding the potential danger ofdeactivating the digital blocking capability; and
(4) Pays a one-time twenty-dollar ($20.00) digital access fee.

The three-page bill doesn’t deal with who would determine what content is sexually explicit, how long ISPs would have to block a piece of content after it’s blocked, or any of the thousand other thorny issues that normally emerge when a government starts censoring content on the internet.

The Providence Journal reports that the bill is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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