Florida Legislature declares pornography a health risk

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Pornography is being declared a health risk by the Florida Legislature.

The state’s House of Representatives approved the resolution by a voice vote Tuesday, despite some members asking why the topic is being taken up at this time. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Ross Spano, who is running for attorney general.

Spano said there’s research showing a connection between pornography use and mental and physical illnesses, forming and maintaining intimate relationships and deviant sexual behavior. The resolution states a need for education, research and policy changes to protect Floridians, especially teenagers, from pornography.

House Democrats in committees and on the floor have said the bill is a waste of the Legislature’s time and that more important bills and topics need to be heard. During a debate, Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith asked Spano if pornography has killed or physically injured anyone. He went one step further in asking Spano if pornography has caused any first responders to seek counseling.

Spano said he did not know. Smith has had his own bill that would ban assault weapons and large-capacity magazines get stuck in Spano’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

“He was saying porn as a health risk was more important to address here in the Florida Legislature than the epidemic of gun violence,” Smith said. “These are there priorities. I don’t understand the politics, to be honest, if I’m being honest. I’m not aware there’s a base of voters who are losing sleep every night over the epidemic of pornography as a public health crisis.”

A similar resolution in the state Senate has yet to be heard in a committee.

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