Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fort Atkinson Considers Social Media Ordinance to Combat Cyberbullying

1st reading of ordinance at May 1st Council meeting.  
Passage does not appear to be a sure thing.

Social media ordinance eyed. (Jefferson County Union, 5/2/2012)

Excerpt:     A proposed ordinance intended to make it illegal to send 
  • threatening, 
  • lewd or 
  • harassing 
messages via Facebook, Twitter, texting or some other electronic fashion was reviewed by the Fort Atkinson City Council Tuesday. 

Per the proposal, a person is subject to a penalty for sending a message by an electronic device with the intent to 
  • frighten, 
  • intimidate, 
  • threaten, 
  • abuse, 
  • harass or 
  • offend 
someone by 
  • threatening injury or physical harm, 
  • use of obscene or lewd language or 
  • repeated messages with intent of harassment. 

In addition, the message can not be sent intentionally preventing disclosure of the sender's identity. 

A second ordinance considered by the Fort Atkinson Ordinance Committee related to penalties for subjects who use a telephone or cellular phone in a similar fashion. 

For a violation of either ordinance, penalties are not to exceed $50 for the first offense and not to exceed $200 for second and each subsequent offense. In both instances, an additional $100 fine will be added for conduct that constitutes an "act against a spouse, former spouse or against an adult with whom the adult person has created a child" per state statute. 

Both ordinances correspond to existing state statutes that relate to either misdemeanor or forfeiture charges.

From the Wisconsin State Statutes 947.0125

State of Wisconsin Public Records Board memo to Agency Administrations, 10/27/2010.

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