Wednesday, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch applauded the House's strong vote in support of the Online Child Safety Act, which seeks to modernize state laws to better protect children from sexual predators who use the Internet.

The Senate unanimously voted to pass the legislation last month.

"The Internet provides tremendous opportunities for children, but it can also be a dangerous place. This legislation will help protect our children from the threats of the 21st century, and I want to thank the members of both the House and the Senate for their overwhelming support of our state's continuing efforts to protect children from these dangerous criminals," Governor Lynch said.

The legislation, developed with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, the Attorney General and New Hampshire's law enforcement community, modernizes the state's laws to better protect children from sexual predators who use the Internet. The legislation builds on the Child Protection Act passed in 2006, which is one of the country's toughest laws to protect children from sexual predators.

The bill strengthens the penalties in existing law for enticing a child over the Internet, and provides enhanced penalties for repeat offenders; it overhauls and expands existing child pornography laws to better reflect the victimization that occurs everyday when images of sexually abused children are created and distributed; and it closes a loophole so that sex offenders using web cams can be held accountable.

"This bill will allow the State of New Hampshire, and parents, to better protect our most precious resource -- our children," Governor Lynch said. " I look forward to signing this bill into law."

Senate Bill 495 is sponsored by Sens. Joe Foster, Bob Letourneau and Betsi DeVries; Reps. David Welch and William Knowles.