Increases the age at which young persons may be legally exposed to obscene materials by raising the legal age at which young persons may be legally exposed to obscene materials from eighteen to twenty-one years of age; prohibits retailers from employing persons under twenty-one years of age to participate in the sale of obscene materials; imposes a civil penalty of not more than one hundred dollars per violation.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the penal law and the general business law, in relation to increasing protection for minors from exposure to obscene materials
PURPOSE: To increase the age at which young persons may be legally exposed to obscene materials and to protect young employees from such exposure.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The bill amends 235.20 of the penal law by raising the legal age at which young persons may be legally exposed to obscene materials from 18 to 21 years of age. The bill also creates a new article 29-JJ of the general business law which prohibits retailers from employing persons under 21 years of age to participate in the sale of obscene materials.
JUSTIFICATION: While the United States has a long and honored tradition of protecting freedom of speech, every society has to agree to reasonable and considered limits on that speech. Similar to the classic example used by Justice Louis Brandels which prohibited a citizen from yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, pornography is a type of speech which has to have clear and enforceable limitations on its exposure to certain populations. Pornography depicts graphic and sexually explicit images which mostly feature the subordination of people. Some men are depicted as subordinate but most often women are the ones in these degrading roles. Pornography presents people in a dehumanized manner, often as sexual objects, things or commodities. Often people are depicted as enjoying pain or humiliation, or they are presented as experiencing sexual pleasure in being forcibly raped. In pornography people are often presented in postures of sexual submission and servility who are tied up, cut up, mutilated, bruised or physically hurt. This bill would shield young people from exposure to materials in which people, and mostly women, are presented in scenarios of degradation, injury, torture, or are shown as filthy or inferior. There is extensive academic research which suggests that such dehumanizing pornography causes measurable harm toward women. While this bill does not attempt to outlaw pornography -- it does attempt to increase protections for young populations who may be the people most influenced by such material.
FISCAL IMPACT TO STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: One hundred and eighty days after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2256 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 18, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. KRUGER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the penal law and the general business law, in relation to increasing protection for minors from exposure to obscene materials THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 235.20 of the penal law, as added by chapter 791 of the laws of 1967, is amended to read as follows: 1. "Minor" means any person less than
[seventeen]TWENTY-ONE years old. S 2. The general business law is amended by adding a new article 29-JJ to read as follows: ARTICLE 29-JJ EMPLOYEE EXPOSURE TO OBSCENE MATERIAL SECTION 613. DEFINITIONS. 614. RETAIL SALE OF OBSCENE MATERIALS AND EMPLOYEE PROTECTION. S 613. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS ARTICLE THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS: 1. "OBSCENE." ANY MATERIAL IS "OBSCENE" IF (A) THE AVERAGE PERSON, APPLYING CONTEMPORARY COMMUNITY STANDARDS, WOULD FIND THAT, CONSIDERED AS A WHOLE, ITS PREDOMINANT APPEAL IS TO THE PRURIENT INTEREST IN SEX, AND (B) IT DEPICTS OR DESCRIBES IN A PATENTLY OFFENSIVE MANNER, ACTUAL OR SIMULATED: SEXUAL INTERCOURSE, SODOMY, SEXUAL BESTIALITY, MASTURBA- TION, SADISM, MASOCHISM, EXCRETION OR LEWD EXHIBITION OF THE GENITALS, AND (C) CONSIDERED AS A WHOLE, IT LACKS SERIOUS LITERARY, ARTISTIC, POLITICAL, AND SCIENTIFIC VALUE. PREDOMINANT APPEAL SHALL BE JUDGED WITH REFERENCE TO ORDINARY ADULTS UNLESS IT APPEARS FROM THE CHARACTER OF THE MATERIAL OR THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF ITS DISSEMINATION TO BE DESIGNED FOR CHILDREN OR OTHER SPECIALLY SUSCEPTIBLE AUDIENCE. 2. "MINOR" MEANS ANY PERSON LESS THAN TWENTY-ONE YEARS OLD.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD07043-01-1 S. 2256 2
3. "MATERIALS" MEANS ANYTHING TANGIBLE WHICH IS CAPABLE OF BEING USED OR ADAPTED TO AROUSE INTEREST, WHETHER THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF READING, OBSERVATION, SOUND OR IN ANY OTHER MANNER. S 614. RETAIL SALE OF OBSCENE MATERIALS AND EMPLOYEE PROTECTION. 1. NO PERSON, INDIVIDUAL, PARTNERSHIP, CORPORATION, ASSOCIATION OR OTHER LEGAL ENTITY SHALL EMPLOY ANY MINOR TO PARTICIPATE IN THE RETAIL SALE, MAILING, DELIVERY, TRANSFER, DISTRIBUTION, CIRCULATION, DISSEMINATION, PRESENTATION, EXHIBITION OR ADVERTISEMENT OF ANY OBSCENE MATERIALS. 2. A VIOLATION OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE PUNISHABLE BY A CIVIL PENALTY OF NOT MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS PER VIOLATION. S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.