The Journal Gazette
 
 
Saturday, June 29, 2019 7:20 pm

Revenge porn, bus safety among topics tackled by lawmakers

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Lawmakers targeted revenge porn, school bus safety and more with dozens of laws that go into effect Monday.

A few special statutes were effective immediately, but the majority of bills the legislature approved in the 2019 session become operative this week.

A few highlights:

School bus safety

After a 2018 crash in Rochester that killed three children, legislators passed a bill that stiffens penalties for Indiana drivers who recklessly pass school buses when the stop arm is out.

If someone is injured or killed, the crime will be a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

The bill also gives schools a way to pay for cameras on school buses.

“The lives of Hoosier children are sacred, and everyone needs to make sure they are paying attention to their surroundings when on the road,” said Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport. “I am hopeful this legislation would help prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.”

He authored Senate Bill 2, which also allows school boards to seek reimbursement from the county council for the cost of cameras mounted on the stop arm. A provision allowing a third party to install cameras and collect fines was removed.

Revenge porn

Two bills made it through the legislature dealing with revenge porn. This is when a person distributes intimate or pornographic images of another person to cause them that person harm., the intimate or pornographic images distributed by one person to harm another.

While the people in the photos may have given permission to be in the photos for the photos to be created, they did not agree to making them public.

Sen. Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, brought Senate Bill 243 for the third year in a row. As a former prosecutor and now a private attorney, he has seen firsthand cases where a spouse or significant other releases – or threatens to release – naked photos or videos to hurt or embarrass the other.

A Fishers woman testified several times that her ex-husband retaliated when she left him by posting inappropriate photos of her on Facebook and sending them to male employees at her school.

But it wasn’t a crime until now.

“It’s tragic and we’re better than that,” Freeman said. “This stuff needs to end.”

Under the new law, it would be a misdemeanor for a first offense and rise to a felony for a second offense.

A second bill, Senate Bill 192, also allows someone to sue civilly and receive monetary damages.

nkelly@jg.net


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