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Brownback Slates Obscenity Hearing

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) will preside over a Judiciary Committee hearing on "Obscenity Prosecution and the First Amendment" Feb. 16.

Brownback, who has switched from Commerce to Judiciary, has also introduced a bill upping the FCC's indecency fines. This hearing is not on that bill, but the subject is likely to come up in conversation with a couple of constitutional scholars, who are expected to talk about the state's interest in regulating obscene speech and the viewing of sexually explicit material.

Some regulators critical of cable adult channels have argued that since cable is not subject to the FCC's indecency regime, the government could pursue it on obscenity grounds.

No word on whether that will be discussed, but online porn could also be on the docket.