Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law

Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law
© Greg Nash

A group of 35 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter Friday to leading members of the House Judiciary Committee urging them to move forward with legislation on "revenge porn" following Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillKatie Hill says 'it would take a lot' to convince her to run again for House The tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Maher chides Democrats: We 'suck the fun out of everything' MORE's resignation.

The California Democrat left Congress this week after nude photos and allegations that she had inappropriate sexual relationships with congressional and campaign staffers surfaced online.

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Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation banning the publishing of intimate or explicit image of persons without their consent, called revenge porn or nonconsensual pornography (NCP), but it is not explicitly covered by a federal statute.

The group of lawmakers, led by Rep. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to reboot COVID-19 plan House Ethics panel reviewing Rep. Malinowski's stock trades Overnight Health Care — US hits new vaccine milestone MORE (D-N.J.), on Friday called on House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerOcasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan Angelina Jolie spotted in Capitol meeting with senators House panel advances immigration language for reconciliation bill MORE (D-N.Y.) and subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Chairwoman Karen BassKaren Ruth BassDOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Bass says she is 'seriously considering' running for LA mayor MORE (D-Calif.) to advance legislation to address that gap.

The Stopping Harmful Image Exploitation and Limiting Distribution (SHIELD) Act, introduced this May, would establish federal criminal liability for individuals who share private, sexually explicit or nude images without the consent of those photographed. It has yet to advance out of the subcommittee that Bass oversees.

"[T]he definition of NCP and the penalties associated with this violation varies significantly from state to state. Many of them include unnecessary and confusing requirements that allow many forms of NCP to go unpunished," the lawmakers wrote.

"In addition, the distribution of NCP through the internet presents jurisdictional challenges. Clear and concise federal regulation can complement and coordinate local efforts to stamp out NCP. A unified federal statute is long overdue."

The letter, which also counts Reps. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails MORE (D-Wash.) and Madeleine DeanMadeleine DeanLiberals tone down calls to 'defund police' amid GOP attacks The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters Democrats weigh next steps on Jan. 6 probe MORE (D-Pa.), a subcommittee member, among its authors, focuses on Hill's resignation to justify the push for fast-tracking federal legislation on revenge porn.

Conservative news site RedState.org and British tabloid The Daily Mail last month published nude photos of Hill without her permission along with the allegations of improper conduct with staffers.

Hill denied the alleged relationship with her legislative director, which would violate House rules, but admitted that she and her husband had a consensual relationship with a member of her campaign.

In terms of the photos, she accused her “abusive husband,” whom she is in the process of divorcing, of engaging in a “smear campaign built around cyber exploitation."

The SHIELD Act, introduced by Reps. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierJimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrate 75th anniversary, longest-married presidential couple Military braces for sea change on justice reform House panel plans mid-July consideration of military justice overhaul MORE (D-Calif.) and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes McCarthy-allied fundraising group helps Republicans who voted to impeach Trump Bipartisan House group introduces legislation to set term limit for key cyber leader MORE (R-N.Y.), currently has 36 co-sponsors, including four Republicans.