Elections, Latest News, West Virginia Legislature

Senate approves bill for victims of internet nude picture postings; House OKs bill to allow first responders to vote absentee

MORGANTOWN — The state Senate approved a bill on Tuesday to allow people who’ve had nude photos of themselves posted on the internet without their permission to sue. The House of Delegates passed one to enable first responders to vote if they’re away from home on duty.

SB 452 is the internet picture bill. Judiciary chair Charles Trump said the bill was recommended by the Uniform Law Commission, which helps states draft laws to keep them up to date and uniform.

Trump reminded the senators that a few years ago the Legislature made it a criminal offense to post nude pictures of someone without their permission. This bill creates a civil action for the victim to sue for damages. There is a four-year statute of limitations.

“It is sad that we have to have laws to address this sort of thing, but we must,” Trump said.

Sen. Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, is a co-sponsor and said, “once again, West Virginia is in the forefront of protecting the victims of sexual exploitation and sexual misconduct.”

There is a correlation, he said, between this crime and teen suicide in some cases.

“If the answer is not a clear yes, the answer is no,” he said.

The vote was 34-0, and it goes to the House.

HB 4312 applies to qualified first responders who are away from their county of residence on duty and cannot vote in person or by mail-in absentee.

It defines qualified first responders as “a person with specialized training who arrives and provides aid at the scene of an emergency, such as an accident, natural disaster, or act of terrorism. First responders typically include emergency medical technicians, firefighters, law-enforcement officers, neighborhood assistance officers, and paramedics.”

The bill allows them to vote absentee electronically.

There was no discussion, and it passed 89-0. It goes to the Senate.

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