State House Passes Bill Decriminalizing Teen Sexting
There's been a lot of opposition to this bill, especially from House Republicans, but it passed the Democratic-controlled House.
Proposed by Rep. Noel Frame of Seattle, House Bill 1742 would remove the felony charge for a teen sending a nude or otherwise obvious sexually-explicit photo of themselves or another person to someone else.
Under the old law, a teen caught sending such images could be charged with a felony, which would force them to be placed on a sex offender list. Frame and supporters of the bill claim such a charge makes it much more difficult (or even impossible) for such a teen to go to college, or obtain a job due to the legal charge.
This new bill reduces the penalty to (most likely) some sort of mandatory counseling. A gross misdemeanor charge could be levied if the person(s) in the photo is between the ages of 13 and 17.
Frame says the purpose of his bill is to educate teens and decriminalize possession of nude photos so they can come forward more easily and report exploitation. Stiffer penalties would still remain for what is called "revenge porn," or using such images to harm or shame a person.
However, opposition leaders say the bill allows a teen to widely disseminate (spread or distribute) images or video of a minor engaged in a sexual act, and do so without any real serious repercussions, according to Rep. Brad Klippert of the Tri-Cities. He was one of 39 Reps who voted against the bill. However it passed by a margin of 57-39, mostly with West-Side Democratic support.
The bill now moves on to the Senate.