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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Senate Bill 179 passes in State Affairs Committee

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Photo by File

David’s Law passed in the Senate Committee on State Affairs April 20.

Successfully accomplishing the first step in the legislative process, Senate Bill 179, known as David’s Law, passed in the Senate Committee on State Affairs and will strive to end cyberbullying abuse in younger generations.
The bill was named after 16-year-old David Molak, an Alamo Heights resident who took his own life in January 2016. Its goal is to help prevent cyberbullying with minors and simplify the unmasking of anonymous usernames. While the bill has been making its way through the legal process, it must pass in the House and the Senate before moving to a full vote. The bill would require schools to have a cyberbullying policy, give students the opportunity to report cyberbullying anonymously, allow schools to investigate bullying off campus and other stipulations.
David’s two older brothers, economics senior Chris Molak and Cliff Molak, medical student at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, are patiently waiting as the bill is now en route to the Senate to be voted on at a later date.
Chris said the bill has been given immense support by the team working to pass it.
“It’s been a long year. There’s a lot of working pieces, but luckily we’ve got a good team of lawyers and lobbyists that work pretty hard and do a pretty fine job behind the scenes,” Chris said. “The team that we have is really ultimately responsible for getting us to where we’re at now.”
According to Chris, if passed, David’s Law will make it logistically easier to uncover cyberbullying that goes on behind the scenes.
“As far as I know currently … it prohibits cyber abuse to minors for one,” Chris said. “And two, there’s an unmasking portion of it, where anonymous usernames can be revealed without having to go through a really expensive legal process.”
In terms of cyber abuse, Chris said it is much more than a screen for the victims.
“I hope for one, it shows those who have been affected negatively by cyber abuse and harassment, let them know that this kind of thing shouldn’t be tolerated,” Chris said. “Also, I hope it mainly serves as a deterrent for parents to get involved with their kid’s lives, and actually feel like there could be some repercussions if their children misbehave, in the ways that we couldn’t pursue legally the first time around, so we’re trying to just create a precedent for families to go through.”
Initially David’s Law received about $80,000 in donations, and within the last year and half the number increased to more than $250,000.
“It’s been a lot of relying on helpful connections,” Chris said. “And we’ve got awesome financial support that started off with that GoFundMe.”
Chris said the change will ultimately be enacted by his generation, and he gave a call to action.
“We’re in the crunch time as we speak,” Chris said. “So constantly just talking to people around you, and contacting your state legislators, let them know how you feel about everything that’s happening, and how you perceive the digital world we live in, I think would make an enormous help … from where we were a year and a half ago to where we are now is like light years away.”
Senator Jose Menendez is leading the fight to get the bill passed, and said he was thankful for the work that’s been done so far.
“Yesterday was an important day for Texas students and victims of cyberbullying,” Menendez said. “Members of the State Affairs Committee made a thoughtful decision after hearing emotional testimony from families who lost a child. I want to thank the senators of that committee for helping us advance this cause.”

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