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friday, may 13, 2005

information alert: internet filters become campaign issue

one of the family foundation's priority issues is receiving attention from various groups and statewide campaigns in recent weeks.

earlier this week, internet filters became a campaign issue when sean connaughton, candidate for lt. governor in the republican primary, proposed that the general assembly pay for the installation of filters on public library computers.  his opponent, senator bill bolling (r-4, mechanicsville), voted in favor of a bill supported by the family foundation that requires libraries to install the filters if they receive taxpayer money.  on the democrat side, viola baskerville (d-71, richmond) voted against the bill this year, while chap petersen (d-37, fairfax) voted in favor.

in april, the thomas jefferson center for the protection of free expression awarded its annual "muzzle award" to the house of delegates for its passage of legislation introduced by delegate sam nixon (r-27, chesterfield) that would require public libraries in virginia install internet filter technology.  according to the jefferson center, the muzzle award is given "on the basis of what appear to be severe and/or unusual threats to free expression."  the center claimed that the internet filter bill "demonstrate[s] an insufficient appreciation of first amendment principles of free expression."

everywhere the family foundation staff goes in virginia, citizens see this proposal as a common sense idea that has broad support, particularly among families.  the usual reaction to the senates defeat of this bill is a perplexed look followed by, "but this is so reasonable."

we couldn't agree more.  it seems the only opposition to this bill comes from either left-wing "free expression" groups that don't seem to care much if our children are exposed to hardcore pornography, or some in the library community who claim the filtering technology is unaffordable.  neither has a strong case, as the supreme court has already upheld the constitutionality of a similar federal law, and the cost of internet filtering technology can be as little as $10-$15 per computer.

the family foundation will be back in 2006 with this legislation.  we encourage you to contact all the candidates running for statewide office and ask them where they stand on this important issue.

tim kaine, lt. governor
no opposition

lt. governor
viola baskerville, delegate
leslie byrne, former state senator
chap petersen, delegate
phil puckett, state senator

attorney general
creigh deeds, state senator
no opposition

george fitch, former mayor of warrenton, va
jerry kilgore, former attorney general

lt. governor
bill bolling, state senator
sean connaughton, board of supervisors, prince william county

attorney general
steve baril, attorney
bob mcdonnell, delegate

russ potts, state senator

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