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Why I voted no on H.R. 1865

Mar 1, 2018

The vote today on H.R. 1865, the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (as amended by the Walters Amendment) was not about whether Congress is against sex trafficking.  Sex trafficking, which involves holding and transporting people against their will, or that involves minors, is abhorrent, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

However, I voted against this particular bill because it goes after websites that are public forums and requires them to police thousands or millions of posts on their sites for content that might involve any form of prostitution, regardless of whether it involves consensual (or even legal) adult behavior.  This goes beyond current law, which already allows sites to be prosecuted or sued if they knowingly allow posts that promote sex trafficking.

Websites that fail to stop people from posting items that could be construed as involving “prostitution” will be opened up to lawsuits from every state in the country if H.R. 1865 becomes law.  My vote was in the spirit of former Congressman Chris Cox, who fought for a free and vital internet, and  to keep it from being dragged down by making everyone who has an open website criminally and civilly responsible for everything anyone in the world might post on it.