Colorado Cyberbullying Bill Shelved This Year

April 10, 2014 5:42 PM

Colorado Cyberbullying Bill Shelved This Year
" DENVER (AP) – A Colorado proposal cracking down on bullies who harass young people through text messages and social media has failed, shocking the bill’s sponsor and prompting her supporters to say they will try again next year.

“I am extremely disappointed and stunned, because it came out of the House with such strong support,” Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, said Thursday.

Her bill sailed through the House last month on a 54-10 vote. It would have made it a misdemeanor to inflict “serious emotional distress on a minor” with texts or posts on websites such as Twitter or Facebook.

A Senate committee voted Wednesday to shelve the proposal amid concerns of infringing on free speech and subjecting young offenders to harsh penalties. But the bill sponsors in that chamber said they’re requesting the issue be studied by the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice to have recommendations for another proposal next year.

“We worked really hard to meet with all of the stakeholders, and we could just not find the sweet spot,” said Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton.

Lawmakers worried that juveniles who were prosecuted for cyberbullying could then struggle with job and college applications in the future "

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