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The House Approves Colorado Bill to Criminalize Cyberbullying

www.endcyberbullying.org

With the recent legislation calling for cyberbullying control, Colorado has now advanced to a safer internet environment. On Monday, the House initially approved a bill that would make bullying through cyberspace a crime in Colorado.

HB 14-1131 would target harassment against a minor by using a computer service. This includes any information service or system that provides access to the internet.

Such harassment has been deemed able to cause “serious emotional distress” and “reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury.” Under this bill, cyberbullying would be a Class 2 misdemeanor, which could result in up to three months of jail time. If the harassment was motivated by a person’s “race, color, religion, ancestry, or national origin,” it would be a Class 1 misdemeanor, possibly doubling the consequences.

The bill’s sponser, Rep. Rhonda Fields, as well as other supporters, believe that having a specific penalty for cyberbullying would deter potential bullies.

The bill will face a more formal vote in the House before it proceeds to the Senate. If passed, this act will become active July 1, 2014.