Action alert: grooming bill allows for baseless sex crime accusations

Under HB2310, this very page could be enough to charge us with a felony if it were sent a minor.

HB2310 seeks to classify grooming — preparing a minor for sexual abuse — as a felony. We already have laws prohibiting groomingbut this one would define the crime so ambiguously that the law could be enforced arbitrarily, discriminatorily, and in a way that stifles free speech.

HB2310 specifies that grooming by electronic devices (i.e. email, phones, etc.) is a felony, even though current sex abuse law already allows for this. It then inadequately defines grooming this way as the act of “luring or enticing” a minor into sexual acts. It leaves entirely up for interpretation what “luring and enticing” means.

Could sending a student a picture of Michaelangelo’s David or Nirvana’s Nevermind constitute “luring” kids into sexuality? Could recommending a book about gender or LGBTQ+ topics? That’s to say nothing of sex education materials.

Under HB2310, extremists would be empowered to charge teachers with grooming whenever kids are emailed educational material that doesn’t conform to their religious views on sex.

HB2310 is rife with ambiguous terms that fail to give teachers, publishers, and speakers notice of what it prohibits. To the extent that HB2310 clearly prohibits anything, it targets protected speech. It is not narrowly tailored to protecting kids.

HB2310 has passed the House and is headed for a vote on the Senate floor. Members of both parties are considering supporting this bill. Senate Democrats will especially need to hear from you.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Contact your State Senator.