Massachusetts House To Weigh ‘Revenge Porn’ Bill On Wednesday, January 10

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2024/01/09/massachusetts-house-to-weigh-revenge-porn-bill-on-wednesday-january-10/

By Chris Lisinski
State House News Service

Then-Governor Charlie Baker once deemed legislative inaction to prevent distribution of “revenge porn” as among his biggest regrets in the corner office, and the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Wednesday is likely to embark on another push to rein in the practice that almost every other state more explicitly bans.

A spokesman for House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) told State House News Service that a formal session planned for Wednesday, January 10 will feature a vote on the latest version of the sexually explicit images legislation (H.4115), which both branches approved in some form in 2022 but failed to finalize before the term expired.

When the House unanimously approved an earlier version of the bill, reform supporters said 48 states have clear laws banning revenge porn but Massachusetts does not, pointing to a 2005 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling as making it difficult for prosecutors to pursue charges unless three or more incidents occurred.

“We’re one of only two states in the country in which it’s not a crime to make publicly available on the Internet pictures that you take of somebody when you had their permission to do so,” Baker said in a 2022 radio interview. “If you’ve ever heard women talk about what this does to them, you’d understand why it’s a crime in 48 states and you would not understand why it’s not a crime in Massachusetts.”

The House acted in May 2022, but the Senate did not take up the bill until the final days of the term, and lawmakers were not able to iron out differences between the two measures.

The latest version of the bill advanced by the Judiciary Committee in October would make it illegal t0 disseminate nude content featuring another person without that person’s permission, even if that person agreed to create the pictures or videos. Such activity would constitute criminal harassment, punishable by up to two and a half years in prison or a $10,000 fine.

 

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