Another anti-porn measure is rejected

General Assembly 2009

April 09, 2009|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com

Maryland senators rejected an attempt Wednesday morning to tie up funding for public university construction projects if their governing bodies do not set policies on how and when pornographic material may be shown on campus.

In the latest legislative reaction to the screening this week of hard-core pornography at the state's flagship university campus, Sen. Andy Harris, a Republican representing Baltimore and Harford counties, tried to amend the state's $1.1 billion capital budget to prevent public universities from accessing their share of the money unless they develop and put in place a porn policy by July 1.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller ruled the amendment out of order, and senators - including several Republicans - concurred, ending Harris' attempt.

Sen. E.J. Pipkin, an Eastern Shore Republican, said he has been receiving calls from angry constituents demanding to know whether the Senate had anything better to do than spend its time talking about pornography.

"I think we do," he said. "There is a time and a place for everything."

The Harris amendment came a day after a committee of lawmakers negotiating the state's spending plan agreed on porn policy language to be put in the state's operating budget. If it is adopted, universities will have until September to craft policies on using public facilities for displaying or screening pornographic materials.

There is no specific financial penalty if the universities fail to meet that deadline.

University of Maryland, College Park students showed portions of Pirates II: Stagnetti's Revenge, marketed as rated XXX, in a campus lecture hall Monday after university officials had canceled a full-length screening amid Senate outrage.

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