JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Mel Carnahan's proposal to give money to school districts to help them block access to Internet porn sites stumbled over its first funding hurdle Wednesday when a House appropriations committee voted to redirect the money to other education programs.
"I see no reason to spend $178,000 for software when you can download it off the Internet for free," said Rep. Jon Bennett, R-St. Charles. Other members of the House Educations Appropriations Committee said that such computer software is relatively inexpensive.
The committee's chairman, Scott Lakin, D-Kansas City, said members weren't opposed to the idea of blocking school children's access to porn sites, rather they wanted some clarification on the funding and had other budget priorities.
"What I think this does is elevate the issue as it goes to the Budget Committee," Lakin said. "We'll have a stronger debate on the issue. If enough members feel it's justified, we'll find the money to do it."
Lakin said funding can be restored during any step of the appropriations process. The education funding bill next moves to the House Budget Committee.
The governor's office had no immediate comment on the committee action.