Erie County Lawmakers Seek Passage of Cyber Bullying Law

October 13, 2011 Updated Oct 13, 2011 at 6:19 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

October 13, 2011 Updated Oct 13, 2011 at 6:19 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW)-Following the suicide death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer of Williamsville, Erie County Legislators Ray Walter and Ed Rath are now sponsoring legislation to help combat against online cyber bullying. The law would make it a misdemeanor to send any type of abusive, threatening, or humiliating electronic messages or posts to minors in Erie County. The law is geared toward minors who are under 18 years old and cases would be handled in family court. Violators would face up to a $1,000 fine and/or a year in jail.

"It's high time we define bullying in Erie County," said Legislator Rath. "Our students, our children, and our grandchildren are at risk because of this pervasive threat."

"With the explosion of social media with Twitter, Facebook and Myspace, it's just another avenue for bullies to take advantage of these kids and something had to be done." added Legislator Walter.

Local state lawmakers also plan to propose similar legislation in Albany. 44 states have already enacted similar bullying laws. In New York, there are no specific laws on the books for bullying. If this law is approved, Erie County would become the 4th county in New York to implement a cyber-bullying law.