Calif. Senate Committee Rejects Porn-Reporting Bill

Tod Hunter
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A proposed bill that would have required computer technicians to report pornographic images of children they find while fixing a machine was voted down Tuesday by the Senate Public Safety Committee.

The bill, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) would have taken an existing law requiring film developers to report child porn and applied it to computer-repair personnel. It passed the Assembly by a 73-0 vote last month.

Opponents of the bill claimed that broadening the law could invade the privacy of computer users and could lead to laws requiring other occupations to also become reporters of suspected lawbreaking.

After Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) voiced her opposition to the bill, her two Democratic colleagues on the committee chose not to vote on it, and the measure died in committee by a 2-1 vote with two abstentions. State Sen. Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) and State Sen. Bob Margett (R-Arcadia) voted "yes."

Galgani plans to put the bill up for reconsideration, her spokesman Robin Adam told XBIZ. "People may have had some concerns that can be addressed," he said. "There's always a concern about privacy and liability. A person may make an incorrect judgment on something that's reported, [but] the mandatory reporter merely reports something suspicious that looks suspicious to them. It's up to legal authorities to make a determination on that, and being a mandatory reporter actually gives them coverage."

Six states — Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota — currently require computer technicians to report illegal photos or movies.

A similar bill died in the Senate Public Safety Committee last year.