Bill meant to save ‘Porn Czar’ position dies in Legislature

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    By Matthew Clayton

    SALT LAKE CITY – House Bill 300 would have opened the doors to let Utah”s much talked about “Porn Czar,” Paula Houston, back onto the scene in Utah. But like other expenditure bills, H.B. 300 died with the end of the legislative session.

    Representatives from the attorney general”s office were hopeful that the bill would pass.

    “It was the first time the position had ever been created. Several states had talked about something similar but so far Utah is alone,” said Paul Murphy, spokesman for the attorney general. “A lot of her work was putting up information on her Web site which has been very helpful.”

    Murphy, who is also the director of communications, indicated that more information from Houston”s office, which would be very helpful to parents and leaders, would be posted online soon.

    He also said Houston”s work was beneficial in putting the state”s laws inline with the constitution.

    “She was able to draft laws, for example the indecent public display laws,” he said. “The way the law was written before, a teacher could be prosecuted for taking students in to see a statue of David or some of the other great artwork. Essentially she made the public display law so that it made sense.”

    Houston”s work culminated in the prosecution Internet predators. She currently she has 15 cases under review.

    Rep. Duane Bourdeaux who sponsored H.B. 300 recognized that Houston”s position was much appreciated by many across the state.

    “The attorney general”s office has been a frontrunner against porn in Utah and this bill would have brought Houston back, which would have helped secure the quality of life we”ve been talking about,” he said.

    Without Houston in the attorney general”s office, the responsibility to prosecute Internet pornography cases will fall to other prosecutors who are already swamped with their own workload.

    “We think Paula”s position was vital for not only initiating the legal framework for the fight against pornography, but she was also in charge of overseeing the taskforce, which is really where we needed her assistance,” Murphy said.

    “People gave her flack because they misunderstood her position. They assumed that she was going to go in and try to shut down Victoria Secret shops and close down 7-11 for selling Playboy and Cosmopolitan,” he said.

    According to the attorney general”s Web site, the focus of her position was to educate about what the First Amendment protected and what it didn”t protect.

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