Colorado Legislature Looks at New Cyberbullying Law
The Colorado legislature is considering a new bill that, if passed, will make online bullying behavior a crime, according to a recent CBS News report.
The bill passed unanimously through the House Education Committee recently, after lawmakers heard testimony from teens who were bullied via social media and other online sources. The bill will have to face one more committee vote before it can be submitted to the entire House for consideration. If the House accepts it, the bill will also have to be passed by the Senate and signed by Colorado governor John Hickenlooper before it becomes law.
If passed, the bill would make it a misdemeanor to commit cyberbullying that inflicts “serious emotional distress” on a person under age 18. In Colorado, most misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, fines, probation, and community service, along with other penalties.
Supporters of the bill say that it will send a strong message about the risks of cyberbullying and its consequences, and that current Colorado stalking and harassment laws don’t fit. Other voices disagree, noting that Colorado’s current harassment laws are sufficient to address serious instances of bullying online or in person. Even under the new bill, however, bullying charges could only be proven if prosecutors are able to demonstrate that the bullying caused “serious” emotional distress.
At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., our experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyers fight for the best possible outcome in every case we handle. To learn more about your legal rights and how we can help, call us today.