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National

WA: House Passes Responsible Teen Communications Act

[seattlemedium.com – 3/6/19]

OLYMPIA – On Monday, the Washington State House of Representatives passed House Bill 1742 on a bipartisan vote of 57-39. The Responsible Teen Communications Act, sponsored by Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle), updates Washington’s laws to reflect current technology, and ensure minors sharing sexually explicit images or videos of themselves with their peers (commonly known was “sexting”) are not automatically charged with a felony sex offense and forced to register as a sex offender.

According to a recent study, more than one in four teenagers report having received a sexually explicit image, while around 15 percent of teens reported sending a “sext.”

Under current law, it is a felony sex offense for anyone to view, possess, or distribute any images, videos or other depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. That means a minor sharing an intimate image of themselves is treated the same as an adult who takes explicit photos of children to exploit them, and can be charged with a class B felony sex offense. A felony criminal record carries lifelong consequences, making it hard to find housing, employment and education.

“The disconnect between state law and teens’ current use of technology create unintended, lifelong consequences for teenagers,” said Frame. “The harsh penalties also prevent teenagers who may be being extorted or harassed from seeking help. They don’t come forward because they are scared of getting in trouble.”

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  1. RegistrantNotAnOffender

    Thank God we have some common sense laws in WA. Our legislature prohibited residency restrictions after certain cities came up with them.

  2. ab

    Just hope none of these teens or any teen catches the attention of a federal agency. The federal government will happily prosecute anyone who breaks federal law.

    • Dustin

      Absolutely, because the feds want a monopoly on child porn distribution.

  3. Two States East

    Anyone think a high school misdemeanor will cause trouble later in life ? I do. Also, Washington State registers children.

    • C

      If it suits their political agenda, they’ll look back to the day you were born for mud to sling.

    • RegistrantNotAnOffender

      Juveniles can have sex offenses expunged in Washington

  4. Agamemnon

    Why did a bill even have to be passed? Get rid of over zealous prosecutors targeting our children and replace them with level-headed individuals.

  5. Steve D

    It is striking to me that teen sex, in all its irresponsible forms, has become a matter for legislation and the “criminal justice system” to any extent at all. For thousands of years and across all cultures these behaviors were dealt with by parents, those who were closest to and most caring about the participants. Now the scores are settled by bully cops and ambitious prosecutors. Well I applaud this modest proposal in Washington, we need a general amnesty for underage curiosity / exploration / stupidity.

  6. Timothy

    “RESPONSIBLE TEENS”

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!
    Responsible enough to arrest! That is all the police state is after. CULPABILITY!

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