In the eyes of conservatives, there are many, many ways teens can ruin their lives: underage drinking, forgetting to study for a test, etc. A new bill being introduced Texas will cross "becoming a sex offender" off that list. The bill, sponsored by Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin) and the state's Attorney General Greg Abbott, would reduce teen sexting from a third-degree felony to a misdemeanor.
Under the current law, if a minor is convicted of sexting they could face two to ten years in prison, plus up to a $10,000 fine, plus a lifelong spot on the state's list of sex offenders. That's right, kids, send a nudie pic of your fourteen-year-old self to your fourteen-year-old boyfriend and you may end up a sex offender for life. Whoops. Though no teens in Texas have been convicted of sexting, there have been cases in both Florida and Iowa where other teens ended up as registered sex offenders due to sexting mishaps. Laws similar to the bill Senator Watson is proposing have already been enacted in Vermont, Illinois, Ohio, and Utah, which speaks to the popularity of this new base on the sexual playing field.
In the new bill, the punishment for sexting would be lowered to minors taking a class on "sexting's consequences" with at least one of their parents. They'd then be able to apply to have the offense removed from their records permanently. Oh man, after sitting in a room with your parents and getting lectured on what it's a bad idea to send a pic of your penis to a girl you have a crush on, being caught masturbating sounds like a godsend. Also, much, much better than prison.