DENVER (AP) — A Colorado Republican senator told lawmakers who gave initial approval to repealing criminal libel that what people write on Facebook shouldn’t land them in jail.

Few states still have criminal libel statutes, though they’re rarely used. Libel is commonly handled as a civil matter.

Senators approved the bill by Republican Sen. Greg Brophy Friday on a voice vote. Another vote is required before the bill goes to the House.

Residents could still seek civil recourse for libel if the bill becomes law.

Brophy says the bill is about free speech and cited the case of a Greeley college student who made fun of a professor online and got threatened with criminal libel. Charges were never filed but Brophy says the threat “scared the bejeebers out of the poor guy.”

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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