Houston reports stall on Internet bill

A bill authored by Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, that would make it a crime to harass people on-line failed to make it out of the Senate Public Safety Committee today.

Lawmakers have decided to pass on any bills this year that would establish a new crime and postponed a vote on the legislation until next year, Houston said.

Houston introduced AB 919 after he heard about a Danville girl who had her personal information posted in an online sex-wanted ad. The legislator argued that law enforcement needs new tools to keep up with the prosecution of high-tech crimes.

But the Assembly watered down the legislation in April when it decided that such crimes should be misdemeanors rather than felonies. And today, the Senate’s committee pushed off a vote until at least January although the panel could have killed it.

“Using the excuse of prison overcrowding, this committee has delayed taking action on this legislation,” Houston said. “The victims of this activity will continue to be harmed, without justice, for another year.”

Lisa Vorderbrueggen