Two of Attorney General Rob McKenna’s public safety bills received public hearings Jan. 12. One proposed law, HB 2427, would require longer sentences for repeat, felony domestic abusers. The other bill, HB 2424, gives law-enforcement an additional tool to prosecute those who intentionally access child pornography. “Our bill is an attack on an illegal industry that profits from reprehensible pictures and videos of children being sexually assaulted,” Rep. Al O’Brien, D-Seattle, sponsor of HB 2424 and a former police sergeant, said in a news conference Jan. 11. “Scientific research shows that most child pornographers aspire to victimize actual children or have already done so.” A study commissioned by the U.S. Congress and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children shows that most of those arrested for possessing child pornography had images of children who had not yet reached puberty. In fact, 58 percent of those images were of children under 5, including infants. “This bill targets those whom the courts can demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt have purposely and repeatedly accessed images of sex crimes committed against young children,” said Rep. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, who is co-sponsoring the House version of the bill. Both bills were heard by the House Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness Committee.

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