DENVER (AP) – Colorado senators gave the first approval to a bill that would repeal the state’s criminal libel law.

Republican Sen. Greg Brophy says the law is outdated, rarely used, and violates free speech when it’s applied. A Senate committee approved the bill Tuesday.

Libel is commonly a civil matter and that option would still exist if the bill passes.

The bill is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Colorado Press Association, and the Criminal Defense Bar.

Few states still have criminal libel provisions that can lead to charges and jail time.

The law has been used in Colorado seven times in the last two years, but in some cases the original charge of libel has been changed to something else, like harassment.

LINK: Senate Bill 102

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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