CARSON CITY — Legislation that exempts juveniles who text and email sexual images from being considered sex offenders was one of 14 bills signed into law Friday.
Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Sen. Valerie Wiener’s Senate Bill 277, which treats “sexting” by a minor as a noncriminal act. Judges will treat the perpetrator as a “child in need of supervision,” not as a delinquent. The child will not have to register as a sex offender.
The law gives judges discretion on how to punish the child. More severe penalties will apply if the sexting is repeated.
If the same offense were committed by an adult, that person would be prosecuted criminally, possibly on child pornography charges, and be required to register as a sex offender.
The bill states that technology and cellphones with cameras have made it easy for juveniles to violate child pornography laws. Sexting — the sending or posting of sexual images of the senders or others — has become part of popular youth culture.
While it’s important to educate children on the consequences of sexting, harsh penalties could negatively and permanently alter the children’s lives, according to the bill.
The law, which passed both houses with unanimous votes, will go into effect July 1.
Sandoval also signed the following:
■ Senate Bill 226, sponsored by Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, and David Parks, D-Las Vegas, which requires the state Board of Wildlife Commissioners to adopt new regulations on placing traps and trapping fur-bearing animals in residential areas in Clark and Washoe counties.
During hearings, residents complained about how their pets were lost in traps. Initially they wanted to prohibit trapping within 1,000 yards of an occupied residence. The new law requires the board to hold a public meeting on new rules and allow anyone to present his or her viewpoint.
■ Senate Bill 317, which requires that committees be set up in each school district to develop plans for dealing with school emergencies. Emergencies are described as occurrences or threats in which action must be taken to save lives, property or injury to people on school property. The bill was sponsored by Wiener, D-Las Vegas.
■ Senate Bill 201, sponsored by Parks, which authorizes the attorney general to establish a program to mediate complaints from offenders in the prison system.