Massachusetts Senate Bill 997

Massachusetts Senate Bill 997 deals with punishing assault and battery by a bodily substance on correctional facility workers and also extends the state’s “harmful to minors” law to apply to electronic media in addition to traditional media.

On March 30, 2010, Media Coalition sent a letter urging Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to either veto the overbroad provisions in the bill or return it to the legislature for reconsideration.

Media Coalition opposes this extension because it is impossible to determine the actual recipients of such materials online. The ban thus extends to material unintended for minors, which limits the legal rights of adults to view them.

On April 5, 2010, Media Coalition sent a letter to Massachusetts’ Speaker of the House, Robert De Leo, asking that Sections 2 and 3 of S.B. 997 be reconsidered by the legislature. Those sections would apply that law to phones and any other devices capable of data transmission.

S.B. 997 passed through both of Massachusetts’ legislative branches and was signed into law by the governor on April 12. The law went into effect on July 12.

Actions:

1/20/2010: Bill introduced to Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee

3/30/2010: Memo in Opposition filed by Media Coalition

4/5/2010: Media Coalition submits letter to Speaker DeLeo discussing possible amendments.

4/12/2010: Bill passed and signed by governor.

7/12/2010: Law goes into effect.