Texas Senate passes bill to clean up ‘revenge porn’ law

Texas Politics
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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Senate passed a bill Sunday that would fix the state’s 2015 law criminalizing ‘revenge porn’.

Recent lawsuits have challenged the constitutionality of the law and it was recently struck down by the Texas 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler. The ruling stated that the law violates the First Amendment, lacked consideration of intent and a lack of knowledge and context for third-party participants who may be found liable under the law. According to the bill’s analysis posted online, the case is currently pending at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

House Bill 98, which passed unanimously in the Senate, aims to protect the law against any other constitutional challenges. It specifies that a person commits a civil or criminal offense when:

  • The material was released with the intent to harm the depicted person
  • The defendant had to have known or had reason to believe at the time the picture was released that the depicted individual had a reasonable expectation that the material would remain private
  • The disclosure of the material caused harm to the depicted individual
  • The disclosure revealed the identity of the depicted individual

The bill was authored by State Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-Clint and Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas. State Sen. Joan Huffman was the lead sponsor of the bill in the Texas Senate.

It now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

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