A bill known as “Grace’s Law,” inspired by a 15-year-old Howard County teen who committed suicide on Easter Sunday in 2012, would make it a crime to bully someone repeatedly online, according to the Baltimore Sun.
McComas’s parents told media outlets that she was harassed online for months before her death.
Grace’s suicide resulted in an outcry of condemnation against bullying. Her friends wore blue – Grace’s favorite color – at her funeral, and went on to wear “Blue4Grace” to make visible their stance against bullying.
Howard County Republican Allan Kittleman sponsored the Senate version of the bill, which was introduced by Rep. John Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat.
Last week, the Senate approved the bill, which Kittleman called “landmark legislation for Maryland,” according to the Baltimore Sun.
If Gov. Martin O’Malley signs the bill, it will become law on Oct. 13.
On the Grace McComas Memorial page on Facebook, friends, family and people who said they had never met Grace wrote posts of support. The law would “protect future kids from hurt and hatred on the Internet,” wrote one person. "That's an amazing accomplishment, and so many children will benefit," wrote another.
The bill’s Senate approval was also celebrated on the Letters for Noah Facebook page. Letters for Noah is a website in which people can send “letters of hope” to a Howard County 13-year-old whose mother said tried to commit suicide because of bullying.
Grace's mother, Christine Pfister McComas, led the charge to get the legislation passed, according to CBS Baltimore.
The bill, officially, Misuse of Interactive Computer Service, makes it a misdemeanor to harass minors using computers, cell phones or other means of electronic communication. Offenders could spend up to one year in prison and face a fine of up to $500.