Porngate scandal prompts legislation

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State Rep. John Payne (R-Dauphin) introduced a bill Monday that would make it illegal to view pornographic images on state-owned computers and other devices.

The bill follows the scandal known as “Porngate,” in which Attorney Gen. Kathleen Kane (D) revealed state workers had viewed and exchanged hundreds of pornographic emails.

The revelation resulted in various public officials resigning from their jobs and employees being disciplined, but no one was charged with a crime.

“I don’t think our constituents, our voters, expect us to go to Harrisburg and sit and watch pornography,” said Payne. “We should never even need this law. How despicable is that?”

Payne’s bill would make viewing pornography on state-owned computers, networks or cell phones a third-degree misdemeanor. That carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

The bill would exempt people whose job may require them to view explicit images, for example criminal investigators reviewing a child pornography case.

It would also not apply to workers who have explicit emails forwarded to them, as long as they don’t send those emails on to anyone else and report to their supervisors that they received those emails.

The bill has been referred to the House State Government Committee.