(CBS) – The Illinois House has voted 102-6 for a bill that would impose tougher punishment on those use social media to organize mob violence.
The legislation is in response to recent, high-profile mischief caused by young people in Chicago and the suburbs – most recently, along the Magnificent Mile and at Ford City Mall.
Sponsoring state Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, says using social media to organize disruptive incidents could be considered an aggravating factor at sentencing.
“Violence has become more localized and smaller and Twitter has become a more vital organizing tool. This gives our law enforcement the ability to keep up with the times,” Mitchell said.
But Rep. Monique Davis, D-Chicago, argues longer sentences have not proven much of a deterrent.
“Every time we extend sentences we need more dollars for the Department of Corrections, and we have not increased safety anyplace,” she said.
The measure, which already cleared the Illinois Senate, goes to the governor’s desk.
In March, the Magnificent Mile was the scene of chaos when dozens of teens purposely bumped into people and caused other disturbances. Fifteen juveniles and two adults were arrested and charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct in connection in what police characterized as “mob action.”
The disruptions reportedly were planned earlier through social media.