Lawmakers amended a bill this week that would allow people to sue distributors of pornography. The move could make it difficult for legislators to pass the bill before the session ends Thursday night.
The amendment would make it so families who sue pornographers can’t be held responsible for court fees if they lost their case. Lawmakers in the House passed it and sent the bill back to the Senate for consideration. Republican Senator Todd Weiler is the bill’s sponsor.
"I resisted the amendment in the committee because I was trying to honor some of the negotiations that I had had," Weiler said.
Weiler says he’ll support the bill in its current form for now.
"We can always come back next year and tweak it," he added.
Representative Angela Romero was one of eight democratic lawmakers who opposed the bill, including the new amendment, during a vote on Tuesday on the House floor. She says pornography is a problem but that it’s a symptom of bigger issues in Utah.
"When you look at Utah and we’re higher than the national average when it comes to rape and, well, we used to be number one when it comes to child sex abuse. Is porn truly an epidemic or is it a result of all these other issues that we haven’t had conversations about or dealt with?" Romero said.
Representative Romero is sponsoring a bill that would require all rape kits in the state be tested. It passed out of the Senate on Tuesday and is headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
Weiler’s amended pornography bill now returns to the Senate for consideration. The legislative session ends on Thursday at midnight.