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House committee kills porn bill

March 09, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

ANNAPOLIS - Del. Joseph R. Bartlett's bill to discourage porn in prisons has been killed by a House committee.

Bartlett, R-Frederick/Washington, had wanted to give wardens and detention center jailers the power to ban pornography.

During a hearing on the bill last week, Bartlett discovered they already have that authority so the legislation was not needed.

But Bartlett said filing the bill was not futile.

A warden who previously had been told he couldn't remove porn now knows he has the power, he said.

"My objective has been fulfilled," he said.

The bill was killed by the House Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Bartlett hadn't planned to introduce any legislation in his freshman year.

But he said he decided to enter the prison porn bill after he was approached by a Washington County prison worker who complained about rampant pornography.

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Filthy pictures in the hands of inmates have made female prison employees feel unsafe, he said.

Some local institutions, including the Washington County Detention Center, already restrict pornography.

The Maryland Correctional Training Center doesn't allow inmates to display sexually explicit photographs.

Bartlett's bill was similar to a federal law introduced by his father, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., which mandates a review of materials sold on military installations.

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