Legislation aims to revise cyber-bullying laws - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Legislation aims to revise cyber-bullying laws

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

These days, bullies often never show their face. That doesn't mean they aren't breaking laws when they send messages or make posts online.

Those posts sometimes show fights and inappropriate pictures. Just last week, Attorney General Jim Hood said the current laws may need to be tweaked to better prosecute the offenders. Senator Haskins Montgomery authored a bill that does just that.

"Kind of bring the law up to date with the way people are communicating," said Montgomery.

Right now, there's laws against cyber stalking and posting electronic messages for the purpose of causing injury to someone. The penalty is a felony for both of those. Montgomery's bill changes that.

Posting things that maybe not serious enough to have a felony charge but this will put a misdemeanor component in it where law enforcement and prosecutors will have another tool to work with.

He says some cases are slipping through the cracks without the option.

"I was told by the law enforcement that all they can do is more or less bluff now," explained Montgomery. "Because there's not a mechanism for them to have a charge. If this goes through, this will them the opportunity to work with this charge rather than having to go to a felony or let them go."

Governor Bryant is closely watching the bill's progress.

"People should not scoff at the fact that this leads to very terrible incidents occur among our youth, including suicide and I hope that bill makes it to my desk so I can sign it," Bryant said Wednesday.

Montgomery says another section of the bill clarifies language that applies when folks post obscene or harassing electronic communications.

The bill is on the Senate calendar. The full Senate will have to debate the issue before it moves to the House side.

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