CHARLESTON, W.Va. A proposal to require pornographic websites to seek reasonable age verification has passed the full House of Delegates and is bound for the Senate.

House Bill 4867, which would require websites hosting adult content to utilize age verification methods to prevent minors from accessing content, is sponsored by Geno Chiarelli, R-Monongalia, 79.

“It would require pornography websites to utilize reasonable age verification methods to prevent minors from accessing their content,” Chiarelli said.

The trend started in 2022, when Louisiana became the first state to require websites that host adult content to verify that users are over the age of 18. In 2023, six more states, including Virginia, passed nearly identical legislation. Methods required have been government-issued identifications, including passports and licenses.

“It’s in the same spirit as bills we’ve seen in nine other states so far, and it’s been introduced in 14 or so states this year,” Chiarelli said.

HB 4867 would require companies to verify age using official documents, with the requirement that information not be retained. Companies can be fined $10,000 per day for each day a website is operated in violation and $10,00 per instance that age verification information is retained. If one or more minors access the material, an additional fine of $250,000 could be levied. The law also imposes civil penalties based on seriousness, extent, and circumstances.

“When we say reasonable, we mean requiring these companies to verify the user is over the age of 18, typically using a government-issued ID,” Chiarelli said.