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AB-321 Juvenile offenders: obscene material.(2011-2012)

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Amended  IN  Assembly  March 30, 2011

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2011–2012 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 321


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Roger Hernández

February 09, 2011


An act to add Section 51207 to the Education Code, and to add Section 729.14 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to juveniles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 321, as amended, Roger Hernández. Juvenile offenders: obscene material.
Existing law requires the adopted course of study for grades 1 to 6, inclusive, and for grades 7 to 12, inclusive, to offer courses in specified areas of study.
This bill would authorize a school district to provide instruction regarding the potential risks and consequences of creating and sharing sexually suggestive or sexually explicit materials through cellular telephones, social networking Internet Web sites, computer networks, or other digital media.
Existing law provides that any person under 18 years of age who commits a crime is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, except as specified. Existing law makes it a felony to knowingly possess or control any matter that contains or incorporates the use of a person under 18 years of age personally engaging in or simulating sexual conduct, as specified.
This bill would authorize require the court, if the sexually explicit matter was in the possession of a minor, to order the minor to pay a fine not to exceed $1,000, perform community service and to undergo counseling, with the cost of counseling to be borne by the minor’s parents, as specified. The bill would also make legislative findings and declarations regarding the problems associated with sexting, which is defined as the sending or receiving of sexually explicit pictures or video images via cellular phone or similar electronic device.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) According to the CTIA Wireless Association, as of 2009, there are 285.6 million wireless subscribers in the United States. On average, each subscriber sends 152.7 text messages on a monthly basis.
(b) Sexting, which is defined as the sending or receiving of sexually explicit pictures or video images via cellular phone or similar electronic device, is a growing problem among minors. According to a 2008 survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 20 percent of teens between 13 and 19 years of age have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves.
(c) While teens generally send these images to an intended recipient, more often than not, these images are shared with others. Thirty-eight percent of teens report that they have received sexts that were meant for someone else but were shared with them.
(d) The potential for these images to reach such a wide and unknown audience can cause the person ridicule and greatly compromise his or her future educational and career opportunities.
(e) United States Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey introduced the SAFE Internet Act (S. 1047), which would allocate $175 million to funding the program and authorize the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance to make grants available to schools, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations to assist in providing education programs for children about the dangers of sexting.
(f) In an incident of cyberbullying, photos of a sexual encounter can be recorded on a cell phone camera and posted on the Internet within an hour.
(g) According to the Pew Research Center, sexting has become a form of “relationship currency” that causes girls, in particular, to feel pressure to send sexually explicit images.
(h) Sexting extends beyond being a source of embarrassment, but can also prevent those pictured in the images from obtaining certain types of employment and even scholarships.
(i) Developments in technology and communication has allowed for widespread dissemination of these damaging images within moments. The nature of today’s technology is such that these images may never be recovered or removed from the Internet.

SEC. 2.

 Section 51207 is added to the Education Code, to read:

51207.
 A school district may provide instruction regarding the potential risks and consequences of creating and sharing sexually suggestive or sexually explicit materials through cellular telephones, social networking Internet Web sites, computer networks, or other digital media.

SEC. 2. SEC. 3.

 Section 729.14 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

729.14.
 If a minor is found to be a person described in Section 602 by reason of the commission of an offense described in Section 311.11 of the Penal Code, the court shall, in addition to any other fine, sentence, or as a condition of probation, order the minor to pay a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), and attend perform community service and attend counseling at the expense of the minor’s parents. The court shall take into consideration the ability of the minor’s parents consistent with Section 730.7 to pay; however, no minor shall be relieved of attending counseling because of the minor’s parents’ inability to pay for the counseling imposed by this section.