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Proposed law makes cyberbullying a misdemeanor

A proposal to amend the computer crime definitions takes aim at cyberbullies.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee will decide Tuesday whether to advance a bill that would make cyberbullying a petty misdemeanor.

House Bill 2295 would make it possible to prosecute someone who uses a computer to pursue, survey, contact, harass, annoy, or alarm victims. The offense would be subject to fines or jail sentences up to 30 days.

The bill has been passed by the full House and one Senate committee. At previous hearings, the Honolulu prosecutor’s office and the Hawaii Attorney General’s department pointed out cyberbullying is already covered under state harassment laws.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, meanwhile, suggests language changes so the law would not target children, who are often linked to cyberbullying cases.

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