New York State senator Jeffrey Klein plans to introduce a bill to increase penalties for online bullying following the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, who lived in the state.
The New York Post reports that Klein, a Democrat who represents the Bronx and Westchester, will announce the bill Monday. According to lawmakers’ public schedules, he will announce the bill in downtown Manhattan this afternoon with other members of the state senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway conference.
“He said his bill would expand second-degree manslaughter to include ‘bullycide,’ or death by cyberbullying, when the perpetrator ‘intentionally or recklessly causes the victim of such offense to commit suicide.’ It would be a Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison,” reports the Post.
“Klein’s bill would also update third-degree stalking to include cyberbullying, defined as using electronic communications likely to cause fear of harm or emotional distress in someone under 21. That’s a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year.”
The 14-year-old Rodemeyer, who lived in Buffalo, took his own life last weekend after complaints of relentless bullying. His idol Lady Gaga paid tribute to him at a concert and vowed to meet with President Obama to address the problem of bullying.