Introduced by: Rep. Mike Johnson
Text of bill: Click here for full text of the legislation.
H.R. 1761 is a well-intentioned bill that, in its current form, leaves open the possibility of very harmful unintended consequences. H.R. 1761 amends current law regarding the production and transportation of child pornography in order to correct a legal loophole found by the Fourth Circuit’s decision in United States v. Palomino-Coronado. Unfortunately, the overly broad language of H.R. 1761 means that the fifteen-year mandatory minimum prison term for a violation of this statute could apply to teenagers engaging in the popular act of “sexting” (i.e., when people consensually share sexually explicit content via text message). Sexting is common conduct among young people, due to the widespread availability of smartphones, and has become such a problem that 20 states have passed laws to ensure that young people do not face unduly severe sentences and other collateral consequences for sexting. Under H.R. 1761, a 19-year-old could face a 15-year sentence for sexting with their 17-year-old partner. This is clearly not an intended outcome of the legislation.
FAMM is urging Congress to create an exception to the mandatory minimum sentence for young people engaging in consensual sexting. FAMM opposes H.R. 1761.
Bill Status: This bill has not become law. We do not know if and when this bill could become law. H.R. 1761 has already been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. To become law, it must now be passed by the U.S. Senate and signed by the president. We do not know if or when the U.S. Senate will vote on H.R. 1761. It takes a long time to pass a bill into law, and very few bills become laws each year.
Keep checking this page for updates on the bills’ progress.