AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas bill that will make sending unwanted sexually explicit photos to another person a criminal offense in the state is set to become law on Sept. 1.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 2789 into law on June 10 after it passed the House 122-12 in April and unanimously in the Senate in May.
The legislation states that “[a] person commits an offense if the person knowingly transmits by electronic means visual material that depicts any person engaging in sexual conduct or with the person’s intimate parts exposed.” Violations would be a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by up to $500 in fines.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, and received the backing of the dating app Bumble.
“Sending a lewd photo to someone that has not requested it or someone you don’t know is no different than exposing yourself to a stranger in public or performing other lewd acts,” Meyer said in a statement. “This is becoming a bigger issue among our teenagers and young adults, and while it seems less egregious since done over text or email, we must establish that this is not acceptable by making it a punishable offense.”
“If indecent exposure is a crime on the streets, then why is it not on your phone or your computer?” Bumble’s Whitney Wolfe Herd also asked. “We want the standards of acceptable behavior online to match those in real life.”
Attorney Lynn Winter, who admins several social
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