Making Safety a Priority

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I am proud that my friend and former colleague, Sen. Bobby Zirkin, recently acquainted with the family of Grace McComas and other victims of cyberbullying, took the lead to modernize revenge porn criminalization and Grace’s Law, both of which I authored in 2014, and once again make them a standard that the rest of the nation can follow (“New Laws Aim to Stop Cyberbullying,” March 23).

At the time of its passage, Grace’s Law was the toughest anti-cyberbullying legislation in the country. When the governor signs this updated legislation, we will once again be the nation’s leader in ridding our communities of cyberbullying’s toxic and destructive venom.


The telling reality is that our five-year-old landmark anti-cyberbullying legislation honoring Grace has become somewhat obsolete. Since then, technology has evolved and social media platforms have grown by billions of users.

This legislation better defines procedures for victims of cyberbullying and revenge porn and provide updates to the existing law to reflect the current digital landscape, including addressing new and emerging forms of social media. They also enhance the penalty for encouraging a child to commit suicide.


With passage of these bills, Maryland has an opportunity to again show bullies that we take this dangerous behavior seriously. We can teach our young people the importance of civility. We can empower victims to regain confidence and control of their lives. And we can show the nation that cyberbullying threatens our communities and will not go unpunished.

 

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