JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, presented Senate Bill 791 to the Missouri Senate’s Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. Also known as “Kenny’s Law,” this bill would allow a person to be charged with second degree involuntary manslaughter if they knowingly cause someone to commit suicide. This includes causing someone to commit suicide through the use of a cellphone or other electronic device.
“Our society has a problem with bullying and cyberbullying in particular,” said Sen. Nasheed. “It’s an epidemic. Sometimes the mean things people say can lead to people taking extreme actions. When someone takes their own life to escape the cruel and evil things people say about them, unfortunately, the legal system doesn’t always know how to respond. We need to fix this issue in order to protect our young people.”
In a closely watched court case in Massachusetts, a woman was found guilty of manslaughter after she sent texts encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide. Meanwhile in Missouri, a former manager of a Dairy Queen had manslaughter charges dropped against her after an employee, who was reportedly being harassed and bullied, committed suicide.
“There are several court cases across the country and even here in Missouri dealing with the exact circumstances laid out in this bill. Current law is vague on how to handle these relatively new situations, but it shouldn’t be,” said Sen. Nasheed. “This bill provides instructions to Missouri’s courts on how to address bullying and harassment. We must hold people accountable for their actions. If a person bullies or harasses someone into taking their own life, they should be held responsible.”
For more information on Sen. Nasheed’s legislative actions, visit her official Senate website at http://www.senate.mo.gov/mem05/.