Lawmakers wonder: Can anti-stalking laws limit free speech?

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MONTPELIER, VT. >> Vermont lawmakers are looking to expand the anti-stalking statute to cover instances in which a person "observes" or "monitors" another. But some see the changes as impinging on constitutionally protected free expression.

The House Judiciary Committee resumes taking testimony Tuesday on House Bill 818.

Superior Court Judge Helen Toor wrote to the committee last month that sexually suggestive remarks and gestures could be new causes for prosecution. She remarked that fraternity parties could result in a whole new court docket.

Auburn Watersong of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence says the measure is aimed at serious cases of threatening behavior.


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