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Watson Introduces "Sexting" Bill

A bill in the Texas Senate would modify laws for teens who transmit sexually-explicit material via cell phone

An Austin lawmaker has introduced a bill in the Texas Senate that would modify the laws governing “sexting” by minors.

State Senator Kirk Watson worked with Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott to craft the bill. It would create a series of graduated punishments for kids under 18 who transmit sexually-explicit material via cell phones.

Watson (D-Austin) says the bill aims to keep the law in step with technology, adding that current laws can inflict some strict penalties on minors who are convicted of sexting, including registering as a sex offender for several years, if not for life.

“But instead of a young person, who may just make a mistake in the heat of the moment, being faced with being prosecuted under our child pornography laws, it allows for there to be a graduated approach to it, starting with a Class ‘C’ misdemeanor,” he told KUT.

Watson adds that the bill has provisions to offer education on sexting in Texas schools. The curriculum is being developed by the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State-San Marcos, working with the Attorney General’s office, so he says there wouldn’t be unfunded mandates passed on to individual districts.

Ian Crawford joined KUT as News Editor in 2008, after spending over four years as a reporter/anchor at KLBJ Radio in Austin. He began his broadcasting career while still in high school in Southern Oregon. During high school and college at the University of Oregon, he worked at times as a reporter, news anchor, sports play-by-play reporter, music host and commercial producer before moving to Texas in 2003.
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