DENVER (AP) – Bullying through text messages or social media platforms would be a new crime in Colorado under a bill that advanced unanimously out of a House committee.

Lawmakers on the House Education Committee voted 12-0 Monday in favor of a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to inflict “serious emotional distress on a minor” through cyberbullying.

Supporters say having a specific penalty on the law books would help crack down on the crime. The Colorado Criminal Defense Bar opposed the measure, saying the crime is already handled with the state’s current harassment statute.

Lawmakers voted on the bill after hearing from teenagers who testified they had been bullied to the point of wanting to commit suicide.

The bill faces another committee vote before going to the full House.

RELATED: New Bill Would Make It Easier To Prosecute Cyberbullying Cases

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