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A Utah senator says his bill that would designate pornography addiction a "national health hazard" has made him the target of national ridicule, but he will plow ahead with the bill because he believes it is an important issue.

"Apparently this is a joking topic all around the world, but this is a serious issue," Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said Monday.

SCR9 articulates that pornography is being accessed by younger children through the Internet, normalizes violence and degrading behavior toward women, impacts brain development and can destroy marriages.

It says pornography addiction is a crisis and urges prevention, education and research to address the problem, but doesn't do anything binding or impose any new regulations or restrictions on pornography or the Internet.

"I don't think the resolution is regulating anybody's private life," Weiler said, but it does "put the public on notice" about the potentially addictive nature of pornography.

Weiler has sponsored anti-pornography legislation before on behalf of a group of constituents who believe it is harmful to children, families and society. This year he is also sponsoring a bill that would enhance penalties if a child victim of a sex crime is exposed to pornography during commission of the crime.

SCR9 will likely go before a Senate committee later this week.

Robert Gehrke