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Politics

Cyberbullying would become misdemeanor under bill headed to Governor’s desk

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A bill headed to the Governor’s desk would make cyberbullying a misdemeanor offense.

The bill specifically targets comments or statements made online that are intended to place a person in fear of bodily harm or death.

Republican Representative Peter Lucido is the bill sponsor. He said online harassment needs to be taken seriously.

“Our suicide rate has escalated in the state. More importantly with the different types of bullying and policies and procedures and practices in place, there are no tools in the toolbox for police officers to use.”

Lucido said the bill expands laws against serious threats made in person.

“The laws are out there in other states for cyber-bullying and it’s out there for a reason because the police have no remedy with the social media and now they do.”

Lucido said critics of the bill have argued it could be an infringement on first amendment rights but he argues the bill simply gives law enforcement a tool for handling harassment on social media.