The bill, titled “HB 1627 Threats and harassment of certain officials and property; venue,” would make it a crime for citizens to offer “harassment by computer,” and allow Richmond police to pursue such crimes anywhere in the state.
It appears that, if passed, Virginians who voice their dislike or distrust of the Virginia government via Facebook or Twitter, including the infamous Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who was exposed by National File Senior Reporter Patrick Howley of being photographed wearing either blackface or Ku Klux Klan robes in 2019, may be visited by Richmond police.
According to the text of the bill:
If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he shall be is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A violation of this section may be prosecuted in the jurisdiction in which the communication was made or received or in the City of Richmond if the person subjected to the act is one of the following officials or employees of the Commonwealth: the Governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Attorney General, or Attorney General-elect, a member or employee of the General Assembly, a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.