- Associated Press - Thursday, February 23, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia’s Senate voted Thursday to make it a crime to publicly display, distribute or threaten to disclose sexually explicit or intimate images of someone else without their consent.

The bill, approved 31-0, would make it a misdemeanor subject to fines of $1,000 to $5,000 and up to a year in jail. A second offense would be a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Trump said the proposed legislation came from Bethany College students who described the need for it.

“Apparently, based on the testimony we heard, this has become an issue. It’s sort of a statement of the times both in terms of morality and technology, I guess, combined together,” Trump said. “It is apparently not unheard of when a couple breaks up, under circumstances that are unpleasant, for one of them to get mad and blast out on the internet or a cell phone, or somehow, private, intimate images.”

The measure wouldn’t make liable telecommunications or computer service providers that didn’t know images were distributed without consent. It would not apply to images distributed with prior written consent, self-exposure in a public or commercial setting or legal proceedings.

The House of Delegates on Thursday passed legislation to prohibit those convicted of abusing the elderly from inheriting their assets or insurance money.

Delegate Roger Hanshaw said current law prohibits those convicted of murder or felonious killing from acquiring the victim’s property.

He added, “under this bill if adopted that law will be extended to those circumstances where a person has been convicted of an offense causing the death of an incapacitated adult by a caregiver, or persons who were convicted of abuse or neglect, or crimes involving financial exploitation of an elderly person or incapacitated adult.”

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