Location: HCR 0112
BILL SUMMARY for HB17-1302
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
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01:45 PM -- HB17-1302
Representative Lee, sponsor, explained HB17-1302, concerning juvenile sexting. The bill creates the crime of posting private images by a juvenile. The offense prohibits a juvenile from knowingly distributing, displaying, or publishing, through digital or electronic means, a sexually explicit image of himself or herself or of another juvenile to the view of more than one other person and addresses consent, privacy issues, and recipients. The bill creates a crime of possessing images by a juvenile. The bill states it is not a violation if the person was coerced, intimidated, or harassed into committing the offense. A juvenile whose conduct satisfies either offense cannot be charged with sexual exploitation of a child.
The bill creates an exception to the offense of sexual exploitation of a child if the person is under 18 years of age and the child is at least 14 years of age or less than 4 years younger than the person unless the person discloses publicly any sexually exploitative material that depicts the child or distributes, displays, or publishes, with the intent to obtain a pecuniary benefit from anyone, sexually exploitative material that depicts the child. The bill states it is not a violation of sexual exploitation of a child if a person under 18 was coerced, intimidated, or harassed into disclosing publicly a sexually exploitative image. The bill also requires the school safety resource center to make available a sexting curriculum for school districts to use.
Representative Lee answered questions from the committee about sexting and how his bill differs from the one presented by Representative Willett.
02:00 PM -- Jordyn Monnin, a student representing Abash the Past at Silver Creek High School, Longmont, spoke in support of HB17-1302. Ms. Monnin explained that Abash the Past is an anti slut-shaming movement at the school. She clarified to the committee that sexting primarily happens through texting or on Snapchat, which is a social media site that allows for the destruction of a video or picture after a few seconds of a person viewing them. She emphasized that the sexting is widespread and the consequences can be harmful, both legally and psychologically. Ms. Monnin particularly supported the educational component of the bill and stressed that teens do not know about or understand the punishments involved for sexting. She recommended that sexting be part of the freshman health curriculum and spoke highly about school resource officers.
02:11 PM -- Abby Lane, a student representing Abash the Past at Silver Creek High School in Longmont, Colorado, spoke in support of HB17-1302 and answered questions from the committee. Ms. Lane explained that kids often receive photos that they did not ask for in the first place and should not be punished for that.
02:12 PM -- Taylor Stevens, a student representing Abash the Past at Silver Creek High School in Longmont, Colorado, testified in support of HB17-1302. She answered questions from the committee and explained how Snapchat works. She also discussed bullying and name-calling on social media.
02:13 PM -- Ash Stringer, a student representing Abash the Past at Silver Creek High School in Longmont, Colorado, testified in support of HB17-1302. She answered questions from the committee about group chats, bullying, and suicide.
02:33 PM -- Tariq Sheikh, representing the Adams County District Attorney's Office and the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, spoke in support of HB17-1064. He supported HB17-1064 over HB17-1302 because the bill is more simplistic and straightforward from a prosecutorial standpoint. He answered questions from the committee regarding sexual exploitation, sexting, collateral consequences, and coercion. He also discussed a juvenile diversion program in Adams County and recommended a similar diversion program for sexting.
03:13 PM -- Chris Mimmack, representing himself, spoke in support of HB17-1302. He relayed a case involving his stepson, who was charged and adjudicated for sexting at age 16. He explained that a diversion program, such as the one outlined in the bill, would have been a more appropriate response. He answered questions from the committee.
03:21 PM -- Stan Garnett, representing the Boulder County District Attorney's office and the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, spoke in support of HB17-1064. He answered questions from the committee and explained that this bill provides a quick and appropriate low-level response to juvenile sexting without getting too bogged down in definitions. He also liked the diversion component of HB17-1302 and suggested the committee take the best parts of both bills.
03:30 PM -- Carrie Thompson, representing the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, testified in support of HB17-1302. She distributed a packet of information (Attachment A) and stressed the importance of formulating a fair and efficient policy concerning juvenile sexting. She answered questions from the committee and was supportive of working with interested parties to include both rehabilitative and prosecutorial discretion components.
03:54 PM -- Cheryl Kosmerl, representing the First Judicial District Attorney's Office, spoke in support of both bills. As a clinical therapist, she created a program called Sexting Solutions and has seen over 200 students through the program. She answered questions from the committee and stressed the importance of diversion programs and education.
04:03 PM -- George Welsh, representing Canon City School District, testified in support of the bill of both bills. As the superintendent at Canon City schools, he spoke about the need for options between no punishment and a felony.
04:09 PM -- Tonya Martinez, representing herself, spoke in support of the bills. She provided a parent perspective. She relayed that her daughter was arrested for sexting and sent to a diversion program in Jefferson County. She answered questions from the committee.
04:14 PM -- Kaylee Martinez, representing herself as a student, spoke in support of the bills. She explained about participating in a Jefferson County diversion program and stressed an educational component in response to juvenile sexting.
04:19 PM -- Amy Hasinoff, representing herself, spoked in support of HB17-1302. She explained her academic research about sexting. She answered questions from the committee and discussed consent, age of consent, punishing the victim, and risky teen behavior. She distributed an op-ed piece she wrote about sexting (Attachment B).
04:39 PM -- George Mumma, representing the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, testified in support of HB17-1064. He provided information on juveniles who participated in the county's diversion program.
04:45 PM -- Jennifer Eyl, representing the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center, testified in support of HB17-1302. She discussed the differences between the bills, including the educational benefits of HB17-1302.
05:04 PM -- Tom Raynes, representing the Colorado District Attorneys' Council, spoke in support of HB17-1064 and in opposition to HB17-1302 as introduced. Mr. Raynes suggested that perhaps the status quo regarding juvenile sexting is sufficient at the moment and focus should be placed on diversion programs instead.
Representative Lee read a letter into the record from Candace Datz, Director of Youth & Adult Ministry, First Congregational Church, Colorado Springs, in support of HB17-1302. (Attachment C).
05:16 PM -- Carla Bennett, representing the League of Women Voters, testified in support of HB17-1302. She explained that the League of Women Voters do not support the criminalization of juvenile sexting and prefers a strong educational component.
05:22 PM -- Christine Harms, representing the School Safety Resource Center in the Colorado Department of Public Safety, testified in support of HB17-1302. She discussed that the School Safety Resource Center provides resources to school personnel regarding sexting and also holds workshops for parents.
05:25 PM -- Andrea Miller, representing Colorado Youth Matter, testified in support of HB17-1302. She described the results of a focus group and read a statement from the executive director.
05:29 PM -- Meghan Doherty, representing herself as a parent, testified in support of HB17-1302.
05:34 PM -- Lydia Waligorski, representing the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, spoke in support of HB17-1302. She stressed the importance of not punishing or shaming the victim in sexting situations.
05:40 PM -- Raanna Simmons, representing the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, spoke in support of HB17-1302. She explained that she supported this bill over the other one because of the educational component. She answered questions from the committee about consent and privacy and discussed the importance of not charging victims with a crime otherwise there will be a reluctance to report.
Representatives Lee and Willett made closing remarks and said that they would work together with interested parties on amendments.
The committee was adjourned.