Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/31/2003 10:01 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 12(JUD) am                                                                                           
     "An Act relating to the crime of harassment committed by use                                                               
     of electronic communication."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Wilken  explained that this  bill would "broaden  the crime                                                            
of harassment  to include anonymous  or obscene email or  email that                                                            
threatens bodily injury."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MEYER,  the bill's sponsor, expressed that this                                                            
bill  would  expand   harassment  language  to  include   electronic                                                            
communications,   as, he  declared,   this  sort  of  harassment  is                                                            
becoming more common as  computers become more accessible to people.                                                            
He  disclosed  that this  bill  is  the result  of  law enforcement                                                             
personnel  being frustrated  by not being  able to prosecute  people                                                            
they could  identify as harassing  people in this manner.  He stated                                                            
that the Class  B misdemeanor penalty  for this type of crime  could                                                            
serve  to prevent  more  serious  crimes  from being  committed.  He                                                            
stated  that  electronic   communication  is  defined   in  a  House                                                            
Judiciary Committee Letter  of Intent that accompanies the bill, and                                                            
he  noted   that   the  bill   was  amended   during   a  House   of                                                            
Representatives  floor session to add the words "sexual  contact" to                                                            
page  1,  line 14.  He  voiced  that  the addition  of  these  words                                                            
strengthens the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken asked for  further information regarding the Class B                                                            
penalty.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Rep Meyer responded  that the penalty for "a Class  B Misdemeanor is                                                            
no more than 90 days in jail or a $2,000 fine."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  moved to adopt the House Judiciary  Committee Letter                                                            
of Intent.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, the Letter of Intent was ADOPTED.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  moved  to  report  the  bill  from  Committee  with                                                            
individual  recommendations,  accompanying  fiscal  notes,  and  the                                                            
Letter of Intent.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no objection,  CS  HB  12 (JUD)am  was  REPORTED  from                                                            
Committee with previous  zero fiscal note #1, dated February 5, 2003                                                            
from the  Department  of Law; previous  zero fiscal  note #2,  dated                                                            
February 5, 2003 from the  Department of Public Safety; and previous                                                            
indeterminate  fiscal  note  #3  dated  February  3, 2003  from  the                                                            
Department  of  Administration.  The  bill was  accompanied  by  the                                                            
Letter of Intent from the House Judiciary Committee.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                

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