This website will be unavailable from Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. through Monday, June 3, 2024 at 7:00 a.m. due to data center maintenance.

  88R22189 JES-D
 
  By: Shaheen H.B. No. 1181
 
  Substitute the following for H.B. No. 1181:
 
  By:  Leach C.S.H.B. No. 1181
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to restricting access to sexual material harmful to minors
  on an Internet website.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Title 6, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is
  amended by adding Chapter 129B to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 129B.  LIABILITY FOR ALLOWING MINORS TO ACCESS PORNOGRAPHIC
  MATERIAL
         Sec. 129B.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Commercial entity" includes a corporation,
  limited liability company, partnership, limited partnership, sole
  proprietorship, or other legally recognized business entity.
               (2)  "Distribute" means to issue, sell, give, provide,
  deliver, transfer, transmute, circulate, or disseminate by any
  means.
               (3)  "Minor" means an individual younger than 18 years
  of age.
               (4)  "News-gathering organization" includes:
                     (A)  an employee of a newspaper, news publication,
  or news source, printed or on an online or mobile platform, of
  current news and public interest, who is acting within the course
  and scope of that employment and can provide documentation of that
  employment with the newspaper, news publication, or news source;
  and
                     (B)  an employee of a radio broadcast station,
  television broadcast station, cable television operator, or wire
  service who is acting within the course and scope of that employment
  and can provide documentation of that employment.
               (5)  "Publish" means to communicate or make information
  available to another person or entity on a publicly available
  Internet website.
               (6)  "Sexual material harmful to minors" includes any
  material that:
                     (A)  the average person, applying contemporary
  community standards, would find, taking the material as a whole and
  with respect to minors, is designed to appeal to or pander to the
  prurient interest;
                     (B)  in a manner patently offensive with respect
  to minors, exploits, is devoted to, or principally consists of
  descriptions of actual, simulated, or animated display or depiction
  of:
                           (i)  a person's pubic hair, anus, or genitals
  or the nipple of the female breast;
                           (ii)  touching, caressing, or fondling of
  nipples, breasts, buttocks, anuses, or genitals; or
                           (iii)  sexual intercourse, masturbation,
  sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation, excretory
  functions, exhibitions, or any other sexual act; and
                     (C)  taken as a whole, lacks serious literary,
  artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
               (7)  "Transactional data" means a sequence of
  information that documents an exchange, agreement, or transfer
  between an individual, commercial entity, or third party used for
  the purpose of satisfying a request or event. The term includes
  records from mortgage, education, and employment entities.
         Sec. 129B.002.  PUBLICATION OF MATERIAL HARMFUL TO MINORS.
  (a)  A commercial entity that knowingly and intentionally publishes
  or distributes material on an Internet website, including a social
  media platform, more than one-third of which is sexual material
  harmful to minors, shall use reasonable age verification methods as
  described by Section 129B.003 to verify that an individual
  attempting to access the material is 18 years of age or older.
         (b)  A commercial entity that performs the age verification
  required by Subsection (a) or a third party that performs the age
  verification required by Subsection (a) may not retain any
  identifying information of the individual after access has been
  granted to the material.
         (c)  A commercial entity that knowingly and intentionally
  publishes or distributes material on an Internet website that is
  found to have violated this section is liable to the parent or
  guardian of the minor for damages resulting from a minor's access to
  the material, including court costs and reasonable attorney's fees
  as ordered by the court.
         (d)  A commercial entity that knowingly and intentionally
  publishes or distributes material on an Internet website, or a
  third party that performs the age verification required by
  Subsection (a) that is found to have knowingly retained identifying
  information of an individual after access has been granted to the
  individual is liable to the individual for damages resulting from
  retaining the identifying information, including court costs and
  reasonable attorney's fees as ordered by the court.
         Sec. 129B.003.  REASONABLE AGE VERIFICATION METHODS. (a)  
  In this section, "digital identification" means information stored
  on a digital network that may be accessed by a commercial entity and
  that serves as proof of the identity of an individual.
         (b)  A commercial entity that knowingly and intentionally
  publishes or distributes material on an Internet website or a third
  party that performs age verification under this chapter shall
  require an individual to:
               (1)  provide digital identification; or
               (2)  comply with a commercial age verification system
  that verifies age using:
                     (A)  government-issued identification; or
                     (B)  a commercially reasonable method that relies
  on public or private transactional data to verify the age of an
  individual.
         Sec. 129B.004.  APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER. (a)  This chapter
  does not apply to a bona fide news or public interest broadcast,
  website video, report, or event and may not be construed to affect
  the rights of a news-gathering organization.
         (b)  An Internet service provider, or its affiliates or
  subsidiaries, a search engine, or a cloud service provider may not
  be held to have violated this chapter solely for providing access or
  connection to or from a website or other information or content on
  the Internet or on a facility, system, or network not under that
  provider's control, including transmission, downloading,
  intermediate storage, access software, or other services to the
  extent the provider or search engine is not responsible for the
  creation of the content that constitutes sexual material harmful to
  minors.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2023.