PHOENIX — State lawmakers may finally be ready to enact a law to curb “revenge porn.”

But it’s not the proposal the sponsor actually wants.

Without dissent, the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to make it a felony to distribute a naked photo of someone else without that person’s consent. Those found guilty could end up in prison for 1½ years — or 2½ years if the disclosure is via the Internet.

HB 2001 now goes to the Senate, which is expected to give its approval, as lawmakers voted for the same measure last year. But there was never a final vote on that measure, forcing Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, to resurrect it again this year.

The measure is aimed at situations when a relationship ends and the jilted partner decides to make public naked photos of the other person, photos that were clearly meant not to be shared.

Mesnard said the situation was bad enough when it was simply someone passing around a photograph. But with the Internet, what might be seen by a few now can be viewed by millions.

And Mesnard said that needs to be made illegal.

“It’s a new way of harming someone,” he said. “As technology changes, people find new ways of hurting other people.

This is actually the third try to get the proposal enacted.

His first effort in 2014 was approved and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer. But it provoked a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union as well as booksellers who were concerned that a decision to publish a picture of someone naked for whatever reason could land them behind bars.

Attorney Lee Rowland acknowledged the legislation contained exceptions, including for law enforcement and medical purposes, as well as “images involving voluntary exposure in a public or commercial setting.” But Rowland argued that is too narrow.

The new version tightens up language several ways, including inserting a provision that requires proof the image was disclosed “with the intent to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce the depicted person.” Mesnard said that creates a big loophole to allow people to escape punishment.

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“They could make the case, ‘Well, I didn’t mean to harm them, I just thought it’d be funny,’ or ‘I just did it for kicks,”’ he said, allowing them to escape on “a technicality.”

“It’s unfortunate because the other person’s life is still destroyed,” Mesnard said.

“They’re still emotionally distraught or ruined,” he continued. “And so the harm has still been done.”

The bill also requires prosecutors to show the person in the picture had a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” But it says that just because that person may have sent the naked picture electronically to someone else does not, by itself, give the recipient the right to retransmit it.

While no one voted against the measure Wednesday, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, complained because the measure was sent directly to the House floor without first being reviewed by a committee.

House leadership approved the fast track because HB 2001 was identical to what had been voted on last year.

But Farnsworth said many bills fail at the end of a legislative session and have to start the process all over again the next session.

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