News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121
March 27, 2007

Senate Passes SB 6 by Senator Zaffirini to Protect Texas Children from Online Exploitation

(AUSTIN) -- The Texas Senate Monday (March 26) unanimously passed Senate Bill 6 by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, which would protect Texas children and families from sexual communication and solicitation via the internet. SB 6 was filed as part of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst's Texas Children First plan aimed at making the internet safe for Texas children.

"Children are especially vulnerable to victimization. Their trusting natures and naiveté make them perfect targets for perpetrators -- both people they know and those they don't," Senator Zaffirini said. "My bill strengthens laws and provides effective solutions that not only will keep children safe from online exploitation and solicitation, but also will punish violators appropriately. I appreciate greatly Lt. Governor Dewhurst's leadership in promoting the Texas Children First plan."

SB 6 increases the penalty for sexually explicit on-line communications with a minor who is from 14 to 16 years old from a state jail felony to a third degree felony and increases the penalty for on-line sexual solicitation of a minor who is from 14 to 16 years old from a third degree felony to a second degree felony.

It will require internet service providers (ISP) to respond immediately to subpoenas, search warrants or other court orders during an emergency; will allow prosecutors to seek consecutive prison sentences for the online solicitation of a minor; use state rewards programs to emphasize reporting and apprehending predators and criminals; and create a clearinghouse of ISP contact information in the Attorney General's office so prosecutors can access important information necessary to prevent online predatory behavior.

The bill must be passed by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to Governor Rick Perry for final approval. The continued progress of this and all bills authored by Senator Zaffirini can be monitored via the internet at www.zaffirini.senate.state.tx.us or by contacting the Texas Legislative Reference Library's toll free in-state hotline, 1-877-824-7038.

PHOTO

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, lays out SB 6 before the Texas Senate. SB 6 would protect Texas children and families from sexual communication and solicitation via the internet.

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