House moves to make cyberbullying illegal in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

House moves to make cyberbullying illegal in Michigan

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LANSING, MI (AP) -

The Michigan House has approved legislation making cyberbullying a crime.

Lawmakers voted 91-17 Thursday on the measure that now heads to the Senate. It would be the first time the state has tacked such punishment for threatening behavior specifically on the internet.

The bill defines cyberbullying as "harassing or intimidating behavior."

Depending on the severity, penalties as high as a felony sentencing could be tacked on offenders should their actions lead to serious harm. One recent example was the death of 11-year-old Tysen Benz, the Michigan boy who took his own life last year after an online prank convinced him that his girlfriend had done the same.

In 2015, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law directing school districts to apply anti-bullying policy to internet harassment as well.

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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