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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 HillHuman Rights Campaign head: Katie Hill's sexuality was a factor in coverage of allegations Poll: 6 percent of voters say revenge porn is more damaging to men Mississippi Democrat deploys last-minute Obama robocall in gubernatorial election 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) MalinowskiImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Warren doubles down — to Democrats' chagrin, and Trump's delight Hillicon Valley: Google buying Fitbit for .1B | US launches national security review of TikTok | Twitter shakes up fight over political ads | Dems push committee on 'revenge porn' law MORE (D-N.J.), on Friday called on House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution MORE (D-N.Y.) and subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Chairwoman Karen BassKaren Ruth BassHillicon Valley: Google buying Fitbit for .1B | US launches national security review of TikTok | Twitter shakes up fight over political ads | Dems push committee on 'revenge porn' law Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law Lawmakers come together to honor Cummings: 'One of the greats in our country's history' 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 JayapalProgressive House Democrat unveils bill to allow state-based 'Medicare for All' Progressives press Democrats to rethink Israel policy Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law MORE (D-Wash.) and Madeleine DeanMadeleine DeanDemocratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt 3D-printable guns will require us to rethink our approach on gun safety 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 SpeierDemocrats sharpen their message on impeachment Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry MORE (D-Calif.) and John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoProgressive group unveils first slate of 2020 congressional endorsements Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law Katie Hill resignation reignites push for federal 'revenge porn' law MORE (R-N.Y.), currently has 36 co-sponsors, including four Republicans.