Bonkers, Unconstitutional Rhode Island Porn Tax Law Faces Backlash From Elizabeth Smart Over Use Of Her Name

from the revictimizing-again-and-again dept

It may be time to do some tests of Rhode Island water for heavy metals, as the state is experiencing a spasm of stupid when it comes to lawmaking. You will recall that there have been two recent proposals for new taxes in Rhode Island, one that would target video games rated “Mature” or higher, and one taxing the removal of porn-blocking software from any internet connected device sold in the state. If both sound almost hilariously unconstitutional to you, don’t worry, they are. These laws likely won’t pass and, if they do, the Supreme Court will certainly look upon them the same way a professional golfer looks at a two-inch putt. That the work of the anti-porn law is largely that of Chris Sevier, or Mark Sevier when the mood strikes him, who once tried to marry his own computer in protest of gay marriage and has been charged with stalking people twice, gives rise to one question: why are legislators in several states paying any of this any attention at all?

Sadly, it’s an open question. Mostly unreported in the past is that Sevier is pitching this law, formally the Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Act, by slapping Elizabeth Smart’s name all over it and promoting it as the Elizabeth Smart Law. Smart, should you not know, was kidnapped when she was a teenager and forced by her captor to do all sorts of inhuman things, including the forced watching of pornography. Smart now often speaks about the harm of some pornography in some situations for some people. What she has not done, apparently, is consented to have her name used to push this particular bill in Rhode Island.

Smart, who was kidnapped from her Utah home as a teenager in 2002, sent a cease-and-desist letter to demand her name be removed from it. And the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, an anti-pornography advocacy group, demanded last year that the man behind the legislation, Chris Sevier, stop claiming it supported his work.

Sevier said he chose Smart’s name because she has spoken about the negative effects of pornography, including saying that pornography during her captivity “made my living hell worse.”

After being told by AP earlier this month that Smart’s lawyer was sending a cease-and-desist letter, Sevier said the name “Elizabeth Smart Law” was an “offhand name” that had been given to the legislation by lawmakers. The bill is also being promoted as the Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Act.

Cute, but Sevier’s site still has Elizabeth Smart’s name slapped across the top of his website he’s using to push the bill at the time of this writing. Regardless of who came up with the idea to use her name, Sevier has used it, is using it, and by all accounts isn’t intending to stop using it anytime soon.

Asked if he would take her name off the site, Sevier wouldn’t say.

“It’s not that we will take it down or won’t take it down,” he said. “It’s irrelevant.”

And, yet, not irrelevant to the person who’s name Sevier is using so brazenly. Let’s not forget that Smart is herself a victim of horrible, horrible crimes. She has since made a job of advocating for child safety and also contributes to news organizations. Whatever you might think of her stances, she is a smart, courageous woman who has tried to make something meaningful out of an absolutely awful deck of cards she was dealt. This pernicious continued use of her name should certainly qualify as re-victimization.

So, again, why are legislators working with this clown?

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Comments on “Bonkers, Unconstitutional Rhode Island Porn Tax Law Faces Backlash From Elizabeth Smart Over Use Of Her Name”

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21 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Law makers should have to sign the Hippocratic Oath

First do no harm… what seems to have become standard is more like slap a bunch of stuff you came up with drunk together with a bunch of dishonest and harmful stuff your backers want and then say “well that’s not what we meant to happen..” and then say the courts will sort it out, which even if it where true, which it isn’t, still causes a lot of harm to people trapped by the law they wrote and wastes untold time and money in challenges, re-trials reversals etc

How about this try to create a law that has a specific purpose and defined articulatable public good, then write a law that looks like it could accomplish that goal, no law will every be 100% but western democracies are not even breaking two digits most of the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Except that the name remains unchanged, so hell knows where you think the anomaly has “ended”.

Personally I like how the concept of porn has you twisted in knots. The less accessible you make pornography, the less funding they get to aid your precious MPAA in forcing in shittily written copyright law.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Nice priorities

‘Victimization is bad… unless I’m doing it, in which case I suppose I might stop… maybe…’

Told to stop using someone else’s name to push his agenda, he hems and haws that you know the name’s not really important(belied by the fact that he used and continues to use it in the first place for obvious reasons).

I guess you can add ‘hypocrite’ to the list of dubious titles he’s earned.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Ban Law Names

If I had my way, I’d put a stop to this nonsense of ‘naming’ proposed laws and bills.

Just refer to them as HR 1911 or SB 247. Whatever the numbering convention the state or federal legislature uses.

Giving them names is just propaganda and designed to make it difficult for reluctant politicians to oppose them or vote against them.

It’s politically a lot easier to vote against SB 247 than it is to vote against “The Saving Our Sweet & Tiny Tiny Babies Act” or the “Patriotism, Mom & Apple Pie Act”.

Just stop it. Both sides of the aisle. Everyone stop it.

GEMont (profile) says:

Welcome to the Time of the Villains

“So, again, why are legislators working with this clown?”

When the bad guys write the laws, its the innocent who suffer the results of Law and Order.

Eventually, even the thickest of folks will start to notice the trend, as more and more criminals join the ranks of the lawmakers and more and more innocents suffer from their machinations.

As the number of criminals at the top increases, the easier it becomes for other criminals to join in on the fun and the more difficult it becomes for anyone of integrity.

Build a society where only the most ruthless, inhumane and self-oriented individuals have any hope of reaching the top, and you will indeed end up right here.

Just before it all falls apart, again.

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