Bill banning ‘revenge porn’ a bipartisan effort

The state House has unanimously approved legislation intended to deter what the Democratic sponsor calls “revenge porn” and now moves on to a Senate committee vote under sponsorship of state Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville.

The bill, HB2201, makes it a misdemeanor to distribute a picture or video of an “intimate part” of another person’s body without permission and with an intent to cause “emotional distress.”

A typical situation, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner said in a floor speech, would come when “some girl makes a mistake and shows an intimate part of her body to her boyfriend, they break up and he sends it out on a cell phone.”

Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, said political opponents had once distributed photographs where “my face was put on other people’s bodies” and asked whether that would be covered by the bill. Turner said it would not, though he believes such an occurrence could already be considered illegal as fraud.

House debate also included Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, questioning Turner, known as one of the more liberal members of the Legislature, about collaborating with conservative activist Campfield, whom Turner called “my dear friend” at one point.

“We disagree about 80 percent of the time,” Turner said, then added their agreement on the bill is perhaps “in the two percent category.”

Holt said the alignment shows “the great compromise that can come about on the state level.”

Campfield has the bill scheduled for a vote Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.