Rep. Earnest Smith is cosponsoring House Bill 39 that would make it a misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine. It is authored by fellow Democrat Pam Dickerson of Conyers who first introduced it last year in response to online attacks of a teen-aged girl.
“It’s clear that we need to do something,” he said.
Smith said Monday that he learned last week that someone had digitally pasted his head on the body of a nude man, but he doesn’t know who did it.
“I could not venture to give you an answer,” he said.
The bill received no action last year, but Smith hopes this year will be different, perhaps because the picture targeting him illustrates how vulnerable all politicians are.
“It can be done to anyone at any time,” he said.
So far, he has heard no objections from free-speech advocates defending the Constitution’s First Amendment.
“No one has a right to make fun of anyone. You have a right to speak, but no one has a right to disparage another person. It’s not a First Amendment right,” he said.