Posted on April 29, 2022
Hartford – State Rep. Pat Callahan (R-New Fairfield) proposed a concept earlier in the legislative session to strengthen the protections for children when they are surfing websites and using on-line applications. Legislation was then crafted based on Callahan’s proposal, H.B. 5468 An Act Establishing the Crime of Harmful Communication with a Minor, which was approved unanimously by the House of Representatives on Thursday evening.
“This legislation will go a long way in ensuring our children are safe when on the internet. Safe internet use can be tough for adults to master, let alone our most vulnerable. This was a collaborative effort from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and it was encouraging to see such broad-based support when the bill came up for debate today,” said Rep. Callahan.
Last session Callahan supported Public Act 21-103 An Act Concerning Human Trafficking, which strengthened the state penalties associated with sexual abuse of minors and increased access to victim support services. According to Callahan, this legislation was a steppingstone for his concept for the current legislation that establishes a new crime for nefarious communications from an adult to a minor.
“The language of the bill establishes the grounds for an inappropriate relationship between a person over the age of 21 and a minor. If an adult coerces, entices, or tries to persuade a minor into sexual activity, the penalty is a Class A misdemeanor. This activity can range from chat room to direct text messaging, giving a wide range of protection for kids in Connecticut,” said Callahan.
As a result of the action taken on the bill during Thursday’s House Session, it will head to the State Senate for further consideration. The Senate must take concurring action on the bill before the 2022 session ends on Wednesday, May 4.