- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2020

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire House bill that aims to protect public servants from internet harassment went before lawmakers this week.

The bill, backed by Democrats, went before lawmakers Wednesday. It would add cyberstalking, cyberbullying and the practice of revealing a victim’s home address and phone number - known as “doxing” - to an existing state law meant to protect public servants from retaliation and threats of violence.

Nashua Rep. Jan Schmidt told the House Criminal Justice Committee Wednesday she and her family have been bullied online, New Hampshire Public Radio reported, and that all public servants should feel protected.

The intent of the measure is to focus on sustained harassment, not one-time instances of name calling, said Schmidt, who is one of the bill’s lead sponsors.

“This is sustained abuse. If it is not written this way, it can be rewritten, and it should be,” she said, “This is about real danger.”

Republicans on the committee questioned the need for bill and some expressed concerns that it could undermine the First Amendment. Others argued that some sponsors of the bill were themselves responsible for inflammatory rhetoric, especially online.

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