This week a Senate committee killed a bill to protect children from pornography by requiring that explicit websites implement an age-verification system. The bill received overwhelming support in the House of Representatives, passing the chamber on a bi-partisan 62-6 vote.

HB 1257’s multifaceted approach to protecting children from harmful content while also ensuring the privacy of adult users is described in Rep. Soye’s press release. The bill:

  • Applies to any online platform that regularly works to “create, host or make available” content that South Dakota law defines as “harmful to minors.”
  • Requires the “covered platforms” to implement a system which would verify the age of the online user.
  • Requires that no personally identifiable information of adult users be saved or stored in any way.
  • Enables parents to take legal action against any “covered platform” that refuses to implement an age-verification system and continues to allow unfettered access to their child.

If you are as disappointed as we are, contact your Senator today and ask them to fix the mistake of the Senate Judiciary Committee. There is a procedural vote called a “smoke-out” that can be moved on Monday morning to force the legislation to the floor.

Contact your Senator HERE

Read the legislation HERE

Listen to the Senate Judiciary hearing HERE




South Dakota Legislators were on track to implement one of the strongest bills in the nation for protecting children from pornography exposure, until a Senate committee sidelined the idea. Requiring explicit websites to implement an age-verification system is a legislative idea gaining steam across the nation, as there are 8 states with laws on the books and 25 more considering legislation in 2024.

The bill (HB1257) would have required that explicit websites implement an age-verification system, similar to the systems used by online sports betting companies in other states. The user visits a secure third-party system, obtains validation, and continues to the website. The process has become mainstream, and happens millions of times every day across the U.S..

The idea behind HB1257 was simple: If we have age validation systems that are used for things like sports betting, and we have laws defining pornography as “harmful to minors,” then we should start using the systems to keep children off of these websites.

These laws have been successful in other states, and we’ve seen sites like PornHub and others cease operation in those states. Because the Louisiana law was one of the first to be implemented, the porn industry has had the most time to adjust their practices. At least one of the major porn websites has begun complying with the law and has “re-opened” business in the state.

The porn epidemic is rampant in our nation, and we need to protect children from it. If we look back to 2017, the South Dakota Legislature passed SCR4 which declared porn a “public health crisis” and this year’s age verification legislation would have finally helped to address it. The bill passed through the House of Representatives with incredible momentum, receiving a bipartisan 62-6 vote. A Senate committee however, killed the bill.