Protecting our kids from online predators

February 17, 2009

Keeping our Billings community safe is a top priority for me. For years, I’ve worked through community organizations like the PTA and the Montana Association of Churches to improve our quality of life. That’s why when I heard that one in every five children who uses the Internet is sexually solicited online, I decided to see if more could be done to keep our kids safe. Many children use online networking sites like Facebook or MySpace, and these kids are frequently contacted by strangers – girls more often than boys. Tragically, kids are sometimes lured into meeting with the predators who contact them.

I was asked by the State Attorney General’s office to sponsor HB 407, a bill that strengthens our current law relating to internet predators and ensures that dangerous criminals can be held accountable. The first section of HB 407 tightens laws to make it easier to prosecute predators who travel to meet children after enticing them online. The second section of the bill requires officers to report findings of child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to make it easier for us to track children and prosecute crimes.

HB 407 is a straightforward bill to help prosecute serious crimes against children. Protecting our communities from online predators is critical to the health and safety of our children.

HB 407 was heard in committee last week. I will keep you informed as the bill passes through committee and makes its way in the legislative process. As always, please contact me at anytime by calling 444-4800. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you to strengthen our community.


Rep. Margie MacDonald (HD 54)


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We are citizen lawmakers in Montana which means that I am home in Billings, for the most part, except for periodic interim committee meetings in Helena. You can call me at 652-6625 and leave a message. I like to hear how laws that we pass make a difference or impact you. I also like to hear your ideas on how to make our communities stronger and better. I will be attending community meetings and events to keep my ear to the ground for the needs of our neighborhoods and city. Please come up and say "Hello" when you see me around town.


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