Internet pornography bills pass out of Senate committee

Thursday, March 12, 1998

Sen. John McCai...
Photo by AP
Sen. John McCain

The Senate Commerce Committee has approved by voice vote both Sen. John McCain's software filtering bill and Sen. Dan Coats' latest legislative foray into imposing criminal penalties on the transmission of inappropriate material to minors over the Internet.

Only one senator voted against Coats' bill, and the McCain bill passed unanimously.

Sen. Dan Coats...
Photo by AP
Sen. Dan Coats

David Sobel, legal counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said that unless another committee asserts jurisdiction over these bills, they will head to the full Senate.

Sobel said he deplored the fact that both bills passed so easily: “These bills passing out of committee like this is a sign that Congress has not learned anything from the Communications Decency Act experience of last summer, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Internet indecency provisions in Reno v. ACLU. Members of Congress continue to propose and pass unconstitutional Internet laws.”