Family behind 'David's Law' reflects on bill's progress, future
SAN ANTONIO -- With only about 2 weeks left in the 85th Texas legislative session, the family behind an anti-cyberbullying bill known as "David's Law" is reflecting on how far it's come, and how many steps it still has to go before it can become law.
Senate Bill 179 officially passed the house on Friday, but because some changes were made, the Texas Senate and House will now come together to work out any differences before it can head to the governor's desk.
“It's definitely been a huge part of our life and the way we want to honor David,” said Maurine Molak.
For Molak and her family, the campaign for an anti-cyberbullying bill began out of tragedy, when their 16-year -old son David took his own life in January of 2016.
Molak says relentless cyberbullying pushed him over the edge.
“For kids, it's even more important that we protect them and protect them online because they have a hard time being able to distinguish between their online life and their real life,” said Molak.
State Senator Jose Menendez (District 26) filed SB 179 last November.
Since then, the bill has undergone a few changes (mostly with wording), but remains close to the original.
It would allow schools to investigate cyberbullying claims off campus, make cyberbullying a minor a Class A misdemeanor, and allow victims to file restraining orders against social media attackers.
“We still feel like it's a very strong bill that came out of the senate,” Molak said.
State Rep. Ina Minjarez (District 124) sponsored the bill and led the effort to get it passed in the house.
“It all came together where we were all able to sit down together as a body and do what we feel we need to do to make sure the bill makes a meaningful impact and ending the epidemic of cyberbullying,” said Minjarez.
11 state representatives voted against the bill, including Rep. Kyle Biedermann who represents Gillespie, Kendall, and Comal Counties.
News 4 San Antonio called Biedermann's office three times Friday to find out why he voted against the bill. We left a message and haven't heard back.
The Molaks are hopeful something will get done this legislative session.
“I think it's extremely critical for all Texas citizens,” said Molak. “Our children and our parents as well.”