Child Pornography Bill Being Proposed to State Legislature
Written by Jared Pelletier
Last updated on December 30, 2013 @ 6:55PM
Created on December 30, 2013 @ 5:44PM
Most people worry about the safety of children whether they have kids or not.
State Lawmakers are saying they're concerned as well which is why they're hoping to make a few changes during the upcoming legislative session.
Four of the bills being proposed are aimed towards protecting kids, but one of them in particular would crack down on people caught with child pornography.
The proposal would create harsher penalties for people caught with child porn. According to lawmakers, the current penalty is up to two years in jail. The new bill would make the penalty range from 18 months to five years.
State officials also hope to change the language of current child pornography laws by redefining what possession means. Some people claim it's hard for law enforcement officials to arrest someone if the content isn't downloaded which is an issue because there are many ways for people to view material without downloading it.
The bill would also make being caught with more than 500 images a felony.
The focus of the new law would be on criminal intent which law makers hope will make a difference.
Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, said, "What the state police want to do is make sure that if you're viewing pornography on your computer that it'll be the equivalent of possession. Right now if you delete it did you actually view it, or did you actually possess it?"
Local residents with young kids claim they're in favor of the proposal.
Ron Whitehair is a parent who lives in Tucker County. He said, "It's just something that's gotten way out of hand and they need to make stiffer penalties for people that have it in their possession."
Monongalia county resident Joy Henderson has grandkids. She said, "There's way too much crime out there, especially with the little children, and I think the penalties should be a lot stricter than what they are."
The legislative session will begin on January 8. The proposal will be brought up at some point during the 60 day regular session.
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