Massachusetts Governor Signs ‘Upskirt’ Law Two Days After Court Ruling

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BOSTON (UPI) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill banning the taking of “upskirt” photographs Friday, two days after a controversial court ruling.

The measure passed both houses of the State Legislature on Thursday, the Boston Globe reported. The Senate vote was 39-0 and in the House the bill passed with no objections and without a roll call vote.

“It shows they can do it when they want to,” Patrick told reporters, commenting on the unusual speed with which lawmakers acted.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Wednesday that a man caught taking surreptitious photographs under women’s skirts on a Boston trolley did not violate the state’s “Peeping Tom” law as written. The court found that the women were fully clothed, while the law bans sneaking photographs of people who are naked or partly naked, and that the victims had no expectation of privacy because they were on a public conveyance.

The new law plugs those loopholes and also increases penalties, making “upskirting” a misdemeanor.

“It is sexual harassment; it’s an assault on another person,” Senate President Therese Murray said. “Women and children should be able to go to public places without feeling that they are not protected by the law.”

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