On a recent episode of his podcast “Back Room Access,” State Rep. Jeff Cason (R–Bedford) explained how Republicans in both the Texas House and Senate repeatedly shot down his amendment to House Bill 5.

The original bill, proposed by State Rep. Trent Ashby (R–Lufkin), aimed to increase Texans’ access to high-speed internet. To help provide this access, internet service providers would have been eligible for subsidies funded by taxpayers.

In the 87th Legislative Session, Gov. Greg Abbott selected Ashby’s bill as one of lawmakers’ top priorities.

Cason’s proposed amendment would have mandated that internet service providers automatically block pornographic content and instead require their customers to request access to the material. On his podcast, Cason read from his statement to the House, which explained his reasoning for proposing the amendment.

“Pornography currently stands as an enabler to both human trafficking and sexual exploitation of mostly women throughout our state,” said Cason. “For customers to have access to this material provided by broadband service that is taxpayer supported, they should be required to opt in, not opt out of such access.”

Although Cason’s amendment received expected pushback from Democrats, he also encountered resistance from Republican lawmakers in the Senate. State Sen. Robert Nichols (R–Jacksonville) stripped Cason’s amendment from the bill before sending it to the House. However, House members again included the amendment in the bill and sent the legislation before a conference committee.

The committee members, including many Republicans, voted unanimously to remove the amendment from House Bill 5. Instead, they proposed creating a study to analyze the effects of obscene materials on Texans and investigate the feasibility of limiting access to pornographic content.

On his podcast, Cason called the study a “consolation prize” and highlighted the connection between pornographic material and human trafficking.

“This state, and many others, are fighting major problems involving human trafficking. … And after hundreds of studies already out there, we know for a fact that pornography absolutely has a detrimental impact on men, women, families, young people, marriages, relationships in general,” said Cason. “It’s a known fact, and we don’t need to waste taxpayer money on yet another needless study of this subject.”

To close out his latest episode, Cason encouraged listeners to contact their representatives and urge them to create legislation implementing age verification requirements on pornographic materials.

“IDs are required to buy alcohol, cigarettes, and a variety of other things in our societies,” said Cason. “And we need men and women in our Legislature that will stand up and fight and be bold … and take a stand for the protection of our children and our families.”

Katy Drollinger

Katy is eager to use her skills in writing and research to accurately report on issues for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.

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