Wednesday, February 24, 2010

House Unanimously Adopts Amendment to Protect Minors

The Massachusetts House of Representatives today unanimously adopted a bipartisan amendment that if signed into law would provide greater protection to minors.

While taking up An Act Punishing Assault and Battery by Means of a Bodily Substance upon Correction Facility Employees, House Minority Leader Brad Jones and Judiciary Committee Chairman Representative Eugene O’Flaherty offered the amendment with the support of dozens of co-sponsors. It was offered in response to the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling made on February 5th. The SJC ruled in favor of a child predator who had been sending sexually explicit content through online communications.

The amendment will expand the statute by prohibiting the dissemination of harmful material to a minor via instant messaging or other online communications.

Members in the Republican Caucus filed legislation a couple weeks ago because they were concerned that the state’s statute under which the defendant was convicted had not been updated to reflect society’s current electronic age.

After an examination of the statute and its legislative history, the Court stated that the Legislature must take action if it wanted to ensure that our children are protected from predators seeking to electronically disseminate obscene material to minors.

The Republican Caucus is pleased this proposal garnered such support and applaud members on both sides of the aisle for acting swiftly on this very important issue.