Governor vetoes cyberbullying bill; says language was overbroad

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AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has vetoed a cyberbullying bill, saying the language of the measure was too broad.

The bill would have made it a crime to use social media to harass or torment someone repeatedly.

It was aimed at protecting children from some indirect forms of cyberbullying not addressed in previous legislation.

However Abbott said house bill 3490 was too broad and included conduct that legislators did not intend to criminalize, such as repeated criticism of elected officials online.

Two years ago Abbott signed into law a bill criminalizing cyberbullying, with an increased punishment if there's proof bullies intended for their victims to harm or kill themselves.

David's Law was presented to Abbott after 16-year-old San Antonio high school student David Molak took his own life following online harassment.

Molak's family then started the David’s Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating cyber and other bullying, of children and teens, through education, legislation, and legal action.

Molak's mother Maurine agrees with Abbott about the language of this bill.

"He got it right and he recognizes that cyber bullying is a problem in our schools and with our young people in our community. He wants to bring this back up next legislative session and do the right thing. He wants to work together to enhance the bullying legislation because he knows it's a problem." Maurine says.