DES MOINES, Iowa – An Iowa House bill, HF 2066, would hold manufacturers of smartphones or tablets liable if they did not enable an internet filter on devices activated by minors within the state. The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, stalled in the Iowa House Judiciary Committee.
The bill passed out of a subcommittee consisting of State Reps. On Monday, Skyler Wheeler, R-Orange City, Salmon, and Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, with Wheeler and Salmon supporting the bill.
The bill was initially on the Iowa House Judiciary Committee agenda for Wednesday, but it dropped off, and the committee meeting scheduled for Thursday was canceled. This week marks the first funnel deadline for non-appropriation or tax policy bills to be passed out of a committee to be still considered during the session.
The bill provides that smartphone and tablet manufacturers are liable to minors who live in the state who use their device to access pornography if the device is activated in the state and if, upon activation, the device does not enable a filter. However, the bill states that liability does not extend to manufacturers who make a reasonable effort to enable an internet filter following the bill’s language.
The bill also allows a class action lawsuit and that a court, upon liability being found, may order civil penalties not to exceed $5000 per violation with a cap at $50,000. The bill enables a civil action to be brought by the Attorney General of Iowa or a private individual.
The bill would not take effect until five additional states enacted a similar law. If that condition is not met, the bill, if it had become law, would be automatically repealed effective January 31, 2031.
Groups supporting the bill include the Iowa Catholic Conference and The FAMiLY Leader.
The Motion Picture Association was the only group registered in opposition to the bill.