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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 to launch 'Naked Politics' podcast Katie Hill claims hackers used government account to accuse her of 'workplace abuse' Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta endorses California Democratic House challenger 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) MalinowskiPhil Murphy says no coronavirus outbreaks in New Jersey linked to Trump fundraiser Marjorie Taylor Greene spars with GOP lawmaker over QAnon, antifa Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones MORE (D-N.J.), on Friday called on House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMarijuana stocks see boost after Harris debate comments Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL Democrats shoot down talk of expanding Supreme Court MORE (D-N.Y.) and subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Chairwoman Karen BassKaren Ruth BassPorter raises .2 million in third quarter Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds Democrats push to limit transfer of military-grade gear to police 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 JayapalOcasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Pocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair Poll shows Biden leading Trump, tight House race in key Nebraska district MORE (D-Wash.) and Madeleine DeanMadeleine DeanEyes turn to Ocasio-Cortez as she seeks to boost Biden Democrats blister Barr during tense hearing Democratic lawmakers launch 'Mean Girls'-inspired initiative to promote face masks 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 SpeierPentagon puts on show of force as questions circle on COVID-19 outbreak Candymakers meet virtually with lawmakers for annual fly-in, discuss Halloween safety COVID-19 sparks national security concerns with top brass in quarantine MORE (D-Calif.) and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoWarren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates Trump fuels and frustrates COVID-19 relief talks Trump says talks on COVID-19 aid are now 'working out' MORE (R-N.Y.), currently has 36 co-sponsors, including four Republicans.