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Louisiana lawmakers pass bill to strengthen age verification on pornography websites

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Louisiana lawmakers are adding teeth to a recently enacted law that requires pornography websites verify users are at least 18 years old, such as through an uploaded license.

The Senate gave unanimous final passage to a bill Saturday that would allow the Louisiana attorney general to investigate and fine — up to $5,000 a day — pornographic websites that do not comply with the age verification law. For entities that “knowingly failed” to follow the law, they face an additional civil penalty of $10,000 per violation, according to language in the legislation.

The bill will now be sent to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is expected to sign it into law.

Rep. Laurie Schlegel, the Republican who authored the age verification law, which went into effect at the start of this year, and the companion bill, said both pieces of legislation are intended to “protect children from the dangers of online pornography.”

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Lawmakers in Louisiana have passed a bill that will fine porn sites for not verifying the age of their users. 

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While people can sue companies that aren’t complying, Schlegel said her new legislation is meant to address websites that have “simply disregarded” the law.

Some adult websites, including Pornhub, began using LA Wallet — which can maintain a copy of a Louisiana resident’s digital driver’s license, as well as vaccination records, virtual court appearances and hunting and fishing licenses. LA Wallet’s system simply tells a third-party verification company whether or not the user is at least 18 years old, The Advocate reported.

Since Louisiana’s age verification law went into effect this year, other states have passed or enacted similar legislation, including Arkansas, Mississippi and Utah.

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