A Massachusetts lawmaker is seeking to make the use of a certain expletive a fineable offense, with jail time a threat for repeat offenders, according to a proposed bill.
The bill, "An act of regarding the use of offensive words," states that a person who uses the word "b----" to accost, annoy, degrade" another person "shall be considered a disorderly person."
Violations may be reported by "the person to whom the offensive language was directed at or by any witness to such incident," according to the bill. A fine of up to $200 can be issued to the offender. Repeat offenders can also be jailed for up to six months, according to the penalty.
The bill was introduced in May by Rep. Daniel Hunt, a Democrat who represents a portion of Dorchester. Hunt told The Washington Post that he filed a bill on behalf of a woman who requested the legislation, a common practice in Massachusetts.
"It’s important whether you agree or disagree with the legislation being proposed that you honor the duty to represent your constituents and have their voices heard," Hunt told the Post.
The state's Republican party criticized the bill, stating that it violated the First Amendment.
The state's judiciary committee was expected to discuss the bill on Tuesday, but no one testified, Hunt told the Post.
A Virginia law makes it a misdemeanor offense to "profanely" curse or swear in public, punishable by a $250 fine. A bill to decriminalize using profanity in public in the state was died in 2017, according to The Virginian-Pilot.