2009 "Sexting" Legislation
Year-end summary; revised September 1, 2010.
In 2009, lawmakers in at least 12 states introduced legislation aimed at "sexting"—the practice of sending nude or semi-nude photos of children by cell phone. Introduced legislation generally aims to 1) deter and apply appropriate penalties to youth who engage in sexting, or 2) close loopholes in existing criminal laws so that sexual predators are prohibited from using text messaging to contact children. This list includes both types of bills. Bills of the latter type are listed below
those aimed at youth sexting. See also 2010 Sexting Legislation
and "The Vexing Issue of Sexting
," State Legislatures
, August 2009. (Also related: Electronic Solicitation or Luring Laws
Status: June 10, 2009; Signed by Governor, Chapter 343
Clarifies that the crime of internet sexual exploitation of a child applies to an individual the actor knows or believes to be under the age of 15 and at least four years younger than the actor. Clarifies that previous convictions for child abuse in Colorado or another state apply to the aggravated sentencing provisions for that offense. Modifies the crime of sexual exploitation of a child by possession of sexually exploitative material to include the possession of one video recording of child pornography. Currently, it is a class 4 felony to possess more than 20 different items of sexually exploitative material and, under the bill, one video recording would essentially equal the current 20 items.
Status: April 29, 2009; Passed Senate.
Urges the legislative council to assign to the sentencing policy study committee the topic of mental and sexual development as related to criminal offenses, including the use of cellular telephones to send explicit photographs and video ("sexting"), especially by children.
Status: July 9, 2009; Signed by Governor
Makes it a misdemeanor crime knowingly or recklessly to photograph, film, videotape, produce or otherwise create obscene material with a minor or child. Exempts youths
aged 19 or younger who pleadeduilty or nolo contendere to, or were convicted of, or found guilty of [sexting] from being included in the sexual offender registry if he or she meets certain conditions.
Status: May 20, 2009; Signed by Governor.
Appropriates funds to aid in carrying out the provisions of Legislative Bill 97 that changes provisions relating to foreign corporations and provisions, penalties relating to certain sex offenders, child enticement, internet use by sexually violent predators, statute of limitations for incest, confidentiality of material of a sexual nature held by law enforcement and provisions relating to the Sex Offender Registration Act; harmonizes provisions.
Status: March 16, 2009; To Senate Committee on Judiciary.
Establishes permissive inferences related to conduct that serves as predicate to sex offenses against minors.
Status: June 11, 2009; To Assembly Committee on Education
Requires school districts to annually disseminate information to students and parents or guardians on the dangers of distributing sexually explicit images through electronic means.
/ S.B. 2926
Status: June 11, 2009; To Assembly Committee on Judiciary.
Creates diversionary program for juveniles who are criminally charged for sexting or posting sexual images.
/ S.B. 2925
Status: June 11, 2009 To Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs.
Prohibits retail stores from selling cellular telephone equipment or cellular telephone equipment service contracts unless stores provide information brochures about sexting to customers who purchase such equipment or contracts.
Status: June 10, 2009; To Assembly Committee on Ways and Means.
Relates to educating children on the harms of electronically sending and posting certain images of themselves.
Status: August 18, 2009; Chaptered, Chapter 133
Relates to a sexually expressive image; provides for a misdemeanor offense for a person who knowingly acquires, possesses or distributes any photograph or visual representation that exhibits a nude or partially denuded figure without the person's consent; relates to publishing such image of a minor after notification that a parent or guardian does not consent.
Status: April 23, 2009; To House Committee on Criminal Justice./April 21, 2009; To Senate Judiciary-Criminal Justice Committee
Prohibits a minor, by use of a telecommunications device, from recklessly creating, receiving, exchanging, sending, or possessing a photograph or other material showing a minor in a state of nudity.
Status: October 19, 2009; To Senate Committee on Judiciary
Amends the Crimes and Offenses Code and the Judiciary and Judicial Procedure Code. Provides for the offense of dissemination of prohibited materials by minors. In criminal history record information. Further provides for expungement and for juvenile records. In relation to summary offenses, further providing for the scope of the Juvenile Act, for inspection of court Files and records and for conduct of hearings.
Status: March 30, 2009; Signed by Governor. Chapter 345
Provides penalties for minors that distribute pornographic material or deal in material harmful to a minor; provides that a non-minor who solicits a person younger than 18 to distribute pornographic material or deal in material harmful to a minor is guilty of a third degree felony and is subject to specified penalties; provides enhanced penalties for subsequent violations.
Status: June 1, 2009; Signed by Governor.
Addresses compliance issues related to the federal Adam Walsh Child Safety and Protection Act of 2006; create a new crime that addresses commercial sex trafficking; establishes age gap provisions within the child pornography laws to address conduct known as sexting; expands the list of registrable sex offenses; expands the number of registered sex offenders on the Internet registry; and include sex offenders' home addresses on the Internet registry if the addresses are verified.
Related: At least two states enacted legislation in 2009 to close loopholes in existing criminal laws so that sexual predators are prohibited from using text messaging to contact children or disseminate prohibited information/images.
Status: June 1, 2009; Signed by Governor.
Adds telephone networks, data networks, text messages, and instant messages as means to commit computer dissemination of indecent material to a child, internet luring of a child, internet sexual exploitation of a child, and harassment.
Status: June 24, 2009; Signed by Governor. Chapter 517.
Modifies definition of online communication for purposes of online sexual corruption of child.