Oklahoma state lawmakers consider measure to change sexting laws for minors with House Bill 2541

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma lawmakers are considering a measure to change the state's sexting law that would reduce penalties for minors.

State Rep. Terry O'Donnell, R-Catoosa, authored the bill. It reduces the penalties for teens exchanging sexually explicit messages and/or photos via electronic devices.

House Bill 2541 states anyone under 18 years of age who engages in the transmission of obscene material or child pornography via electronic means with another minor over the age of 13 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor instead of a felony. The minor could also face fines of up to $1,000.

In addition, the offender and his or her parents could be ordered to complete an education course on the legal and social consequences of sexting.

"Due to the Draconian penalties under current Oklahoma law, I discovered that a number of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors were simply choosing to not take any action against the teen offenders," said Representative O'Donnell. "Condemning a 16-year-old to a life as a convicted felon and a registered sex offender for an electronic misstep between two minors is not the way to teach them a lesson."

HB 2541 passed the State House of Representatives unanimously, 92-0. It now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

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