Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt today called on members of the General Assembly to quickly pass recommendations presented by his Internet Harassment Task Force.
"I created the Internet Harassment Task Force to help protect Missouri families from the terrible tragedy that Megan Meier's family has had to endure," Blunt said. "I applaud the bi-partisan legislators, law enforcement officers, child services advocates, Internet providers and Missourians who worked together to define valuable recommendations for our state and call on lawmakers to quickly pass legislation placing the recommendations in statute."
The governor's task force, headed by Public Safety Director Mark James, identified several recommendations to enhance Missouri law and protect public safety. Among their recommendations is ensuring cyber bullying and harassment is clearly defined in state statute and offenders are punished accordingly.
In addition the group recommends criminalizing the use of any electronic device -- which includes computers and text messaging on cell phones -- for the harassment of another person. Legislation the task force drafted calls for penalties ranging from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense.
Sen. Scott Rupp is sponsoring legislation that includes the task force recommendations. The Senate Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence committee held a hearing on the legislation yesterday.