Reps Smith and Schafer and others backing bill on importuning (Courtesy: Jo Ingles)

Proposed Bill Targets Web Sex Predators

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Some state lawmakers say current law allows those convicted of importuning, or soliciting a minor for sex over the internet, to escape serious penalties.

Sponsors of the bill say predators often are sentenced to little or no prison time. Republican Representative Tim Schaefer’s bill would create a mandatory six-month minimum prison term for anyone convicted of the crime, adding, “Nobody wants to go to state prison. I think that’s fair to say. And the threat of a mandatory prison term hanging over the perpetrator’s head, I hope would help deter them.”

The same bill passed the House unanimously last year but there wasn’t time to get it through the Senate before the two-year session ended. Lawmakers now have until the end of next year to pass it this time around.