June 6, 2012

The Associated Press
First Posted: May 14, 2012 @ 9:39p.m.
Last Updated: May 14, 2012 @ 9:40p.m.

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a new version of an anti-stalking bill that riled social media users when a previous version sought to make it a crime to annoy or offend someone online.

The legislation updates Arizona’s harassment and stalking laws to include smartphones and cyber communication.

A provision that free speech advocates said could lead to people being criminally charged for constitutionally protected comments online was dropped.

The bill now focuses on behavior intended to intimidate or threaten. It also states the law would not apply to constitutionally protected speech. Other changes include specifications that a threat be directed at a specific individual or group.

Supporters say the legislation helps victims whose cases have been dismissed in court because state law hadn’t keep up with technology changes.

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