Senate Piles On Bad Net Laws at Last Minute

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Senators know that it's much easier to attach a proposal to an important spending bill than to wait for a committee to approve it, and this sultry week is seeing all manner of ill- and unconsidered Net legislation voted in at the last minute before an August break. Thursday, Arizona RepublicanJon Kyl persuaded the Senate to graft his Internet gambling ban onto an appropriations measure, and then it approved the entire $33.2 billion package, 99-0.

Public libraries get slammed, too. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) larded up the same appropriations bill on Tuesday, tucking an Internet filtering requirement into it. The measure requires libraries and schools that want "e-rate" cash to wire themselves to the Net to cordon off large portions of it through blocking software.

Then there's the constitutionally suspect sequel to the Communications Decency Act, which the Senate also endorsed. (Hey, is anyone really surprised?) Attached to that ever-growing appropriations bill, the amendment makes it a crime to put graphics that are "harmful to minors" on the Web.