Office of the Attorney General
Senate Judiciary Committee Unanimously Passes Cybersafety Legislation

Press Release Date:  Monday, March 09, 2009  
Contact Information:  Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5651 (office)

Attorney General Jack Conway and Representative Johnny Bell today thanked members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for unanimously passing legislation that will strengthen Kentucky laws to protect children from Internet predators.  General Conway, Rep. Bell and Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron offered testimony on the expanded cybercrimes legislation before a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon.

“We appreciate the support shown by Sen. Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), the chair of the Judiciary Committee, and the Senate leadership for this important issue. They recognized, early on, the significance of this legislation for Kentucky families and particularly for law enforcement and their efforts to arrest and convict cybercriminals who are trying to harm Kentucky kids,” General Conway said.

House Bill 315 will now be considered by the full Senate. The House passed the bill 97-0 on March 2.

House Bill 315

House Bill 315 contains the following provisions:

  • Prohibits sex offenders from logging onto social networking sites that are used by children under the age of 18.
  • Requires sex offenders to update their email addresses and online identifiers with the registry in a similar fashion as they update their physical addresses.  The bill codifies the Kentucky State Police Department’s current practice of making emails available in a searchable database that is accessible to the public.  The bill would further require that online profiles, such as those used on MySpace or Facebook, also be included in the searchable database.  Email addresses will be removed from individual pages on the registry because of the concern that sex offenders may use the information to communicate with each other or create online communities.
  • Amends Kentucky’s stalking statute to include cyberstalking, recognizing that threats or harassment can take place online and in person.
  • Closes a loophole in current law by clarifying that it is a crime for a person to transmit live sexually explicit images of themselves to minors over the Internet or other electronic network via webcam or other technological devices.
  • Allows police to seize personal property, such as a computer or car, which has been used by a predator in the commission of sexual offenses against children.
  • Grants administrative subpoena power to the Office of the Attorney General when investigating online crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children.  This gives investigators direct access to secure relevant information that will help officers identify perpetrators in these cases.

House Bill 148

The Senate Judiciary Committee today also unanimously approved House Bill 148, sponsored by Representative Mike Cherry. The bill addresses the re-organization of the Office of the Attorney General to include the creation in June 2008 of a Cybercrimes unit devoted to investigating crimes that occur online. Investigators from the Cybercrimes unit report to the Department of Criminal Investigations, formerly known as the Kentucky Bureau of Investigations (KBI).

General Conway’s re-organization efforts outlined in House Bill 148 have resulted in a streamlining and consolidation of priority operations within the Office of the Attorney General.