New teen ~sexting TM bill proposed in Texas

Texas lawmakers will soon look at teen 'sexting' laws.

There's a bill on the table that would lessen the punishment for first time violators of sexting for those 18 and under.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott joined State Senator Kick Watson, who announced the filing of Senate Bill 407, legislation will help curb the dangerous practices of sexting.

Brenda Heredia, Executive Director of the Family Crisis Center in Harlingen tells Action 4 News, "Sexting" has become a problem for the last two or three years, it's really shot up in terms of occurrence."

Heredia says she knows of a recent case involving a Harlingen teen. "She ~sexted TM pictures of herself to her boyfriend, the exact thing that I TMm talking about happened, they had a fight he got mad and he sent it to everybody in the school", said Heredia.

Heredia goes on to say, "That poor young lady she had no knowledge that it was going around until all her friends and people were coming up saying I TMve seen a picture of you".

As the law stands now if a child or teen is caught ~sexting TM they could face federal child pornography charges, and could be forced to register as a sex offender.

"Right now at this point with the way the law stands that young lady is vulnerable to being charged with production of child pornography", said Heredia.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Senator Kirk Watson support the Senate 407, a bill that would discourage ~sexting TM.

If passed the bill would also change the charge to a Class C misdemeanor for first-time violators less than 18- years old.

Heredia agrees with the proposed legislation.

"I just don't think children who are still growing up and still learning should be labeled as a sexual predator label for the rest of their lives", said Heredia.

However at the end of the day it will be up to Texas lawmakers to decide if they want to lessen the punishment for teens.

Under the proposed legislation a minor convicted of sexing and one of the minor's parents would have to participate in an education program about the long term consequences of the action.

If Senate Bill 407 passes it will go into effect in September.