Parents and lawmakers want to restore a little bit of innocence in a vulgar world — or at least in the public transit system.
If passed, new legislation introduced by state Senator Leroy Comrie will prohibit advertising alcoholic beverages and provocative content to minors on state-owned property. According to the senator, the aim of the bill is to protect children from negative messages, and protect the families from intrusion of content inappropriate for children while in a public space or using mass transit.
Comrie said that instead of promoting a vice-filled lifestyle, public advertising should encourage children to think of their futures.
“When demand for such advertising space is already high, the state should either opt to conduct business with companies that do not choose to sell themselves using sex or alcohol, or use the state’s advertising budget to promote community improvement initiatives, such as anti-drug campaigns,” Comrie said.
The bill was introduced only a few weeks after the senator received complaints on the issue from concerned parents. To strengthen their stance, supporters of the legislation cite studies that have shown that media taken in by adolescents may be an important factor determining whether they initiate sexual intercourse.
The members of the community who advocated for the change said that they thought provocative advertising was a destructive force in the lives of local children.
“In our urban neighborhoods, we need positive images, and our kids need to know that there are other things out there than liquor and sex,” Clarence Wittingham said.
The senate still has a couple of weeks in which bills will be introduced, and in this time Comrie’s office will be seeking support for the advertising bill from other members in the senate and local advocacy groups. Senator Comrie is currently in talks with another legislator to co-sponsor the bill and move it forward for a vote, but staff members at his office declined to name the potential co-sponsor.
The bill would take effect 90 days after being voted into law.