A U.S. senator's idea to charge users for sending e-mail as a way to fight spam was just 'public brainstorming,' but may not become legislation, according to a spokesman for Senator Mark Dayton, who mentioned an e-mail tax at a hearing Wednesday.A U.S. senator's idea to charge users for sending e-mail as a way to fight spam was just "public brainstorming," but may not become legislation, according to a spokesman for Senator Mark Dayton, who\u00a0mentioned an e-mail tax\u00a0at a hearing Wednesday.Dayton (D-Minn.) was among the witnesses at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, speaking in support of a bill he introduced in March, the "Computer Owners' Bill of Rights," which proposes creating a national antispam registry but does not include a charge for sending e-mail. But Dayton also said "it's worth looking at" levying a small charge per e-mail sent, so that spammers who send millions of e-mail messages a day would be hit in the pocketbooks."I think it's worth looking at some very, very small charge for every e-mail sent, so small that it would not be onerous for an individual or business that has regular (e-mail) use, but it would be a deterrent for those who are sending millions and even billions of these e-mails," Dayton said at the hearing.Asked for more details, a Dayton spokesman said Thursday, "It was the senator speaking fairly off the cuff, wondering out loud about ways to combat the spam problem."The senator's staff has not worked up any e-mail tax proposals and no legislation is planned at the moment, the spokesman said. Asked how much Dayton would propose to tax each piece of e-mail, the spokesman said, "It hasn't even gotten that far yet."Dayton's ideas were among several advanced at the committee hearing on spam. Including Dayton's bill and a wireless spam bill, there are five bills currently introduced in\u00a0Congress, with other bills likely on the way.A proposed e-mail tax has been a long-time hoax circulating on the Internet. An e-mail that has circulated since at least 2000 tells of\u00a0a fictitious bill\u00a0that would charge 5 cents per each e-mail sent.Dayton's idea of charging for e-mail received quick reaction. "Give me a break!" e-mailed Arvil Cook, a training-facility scheduler from Houston after reading an IDG News Service report about the hearing. "If a tax will solve a problem, this would be the most problem-free nation on earth. This would end up being a tax on those that obey the law while the spammers would find a way to circumvent it."