DENVER — State legislators in Colorado killed, and then resuscitated a bill that would close a sexting loophole in state law.
Three Senate Democrats in the judiciary committee – Pete Lee (Colorado Springs), Julie Gonzales (Denver) and Robert Rodriguez (Denver) – originally voted to postpone the bill indefinitely in a hearing Wednesday evening.
If passed, HB-1030 would prohibit adults “in a position of trust” from sending sexual messages, whether that be online or through text, to 15, 16 and 17 years olds. Current law allows for such communication, even from a teacher or coach, if photos and videos are not included.
The bill has bipartisan support.
Minutes after it died, however, the committee opted to reconsider. All five members of the committee then voted in favor of the legislation.
"This is very unusual. Very unusual. I think that the committee just made a mistake. They didn’t understand the message this would send to the public," said Republican Senator Bob Rankin, one of the sponsors. "I think when there was time to reconsider that, and they understood what they did, they said wait a minute. We at least need to let this get to the Senate. I think it will pass. I think it will get through to the whole Senate. They got caught up in the legality."
Lee told 9NEWS that he took issue with the bill's language.
"I had some doubts about how the bill was written. Of course, I agree with the policy of not wanting to have predators taking liberties with children under any circumstances. I wasn’t certain it was drafted with the precision it needed. That’s why I voted no," he said.
9NEWS was told there was a discussion between the sponsors and the senators who voted no after the vote, but nothing was done to change the language of the bill before voting a second time.
The bill will now go to the Senate for the chamber’s full consideration.
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