US: Nebraska Senator proposes new HIV exposure laws

Senator Pete Pirsch of Omaha, Nebraska has proposed an amendment to Nebraska’s Revised Statutes that would criminalise “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly engag[ing] in sexual intercourse or sodomy with another individual with the intent to expose that individual to that life-threatening communicable disease.”

The law, of course, makes no sense, and is badly written, like so many HIV-exposure laws. It will basically criminalise any diagnosed HIV-positive person who has unprotected sex without first disclosing their HIV status to their prospective partner, and the individual will be punished (by up to 20 years’ imprisonment) regardless of whether there was a real risk of HIV transmission, or even whether HIV transmission occurred.

This is the second time that Nebraska has attempted to pass an HIV exposure law. In 2004, Senator Lowen Kruse proposed a similar law which did not pass. Let’s hope the same happens this time.

Below, I include the Associated Press story (complete its a stigmatising and incorrect headline) from an Omaha radio station website, and the full text of the proposed law, which can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Update: The reason behind the new push for a law is this case from December.

Allen J. Moore won’t have a chance to spread HIV to anyone – at least not anyone outside of prison – for the next 10 years…Moore was sentenced for manufacturing child pornography after Omaha police investigators discovered a tape of him having sex with a 17-year-old boy and a young man. The 17-year-old told police that he consented to sex with Moore. The teenager said, however, that Moore never told him he had HIV. Now, the teen is saddled with the virus that can cause AIDS. And now, state senators are prepared to reconsider a bill that would make it a crime to knowingly transmit HIV without informing an intimate partner. Without such a charge, prosecutors had to scramble to find anything to hold Moore accountable. State Sen. Brad Ashford, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, called Moore a “poster child” of why Nebraska needs such a law.

Spreading AIDS could be felony in Neb.
Associated Press – January 21, 2009

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Having sex with the intention of spreading a deadly disease like AIDS would be a felony in Nebraska under a proposal in the state Legislature.

State Sen. Pete Pirsch of Omaha introduced the bill (LB625) Wednesday that would also make it illegal to sell or donate organs, blood, semen and other bodily fluids with the intention of spreading a deadly disease. Sharing hypodermic needles with the same purpose would also be illegal.

Pirsch wants a harsh penalty for violating the proposed law. Violators would be guilty of a Class 1B felony, which carries a minimum prison sentence of 20 years, and a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Introduced by Pirsch, 4.
Read first time January 21, 2009
Committee: Judiciary
1 FOR AN ACT relating to crimes and offenses; to amend section
2 28-101, Reissue Revised Statutes of Nebraska; to prohibit
3 the intentional exposure to another of a life-threatening
4 communicable disease; to harmonize provisions; and to
5 repeal the original section.
6 Be it enacted by the people of the State of Nebraska,

1 Section 1. Section 28-101, Reissue Revised Statutes of
2 Nebraska, is amended to read:
3 28-101 Sections 28-101 to 28-1350 and section 2 of this
4 act shall be known and may be cited as the Nebraska Criminal Code.
5 Sec. 2. (1) It is unlawful for an individual who knows
6 oneself to be infected with a life-threatening communicable disease
7 to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:
8 (a) Engage in sexual intercourse or sodomy with another
9 individual with the intent to expose that individual to that
10 life-threatening communicable disease;
11 (b) Sell or donate one’s own organs, tissue, or blood,
12 blood products, semen, or other bodily fluids with the intent to
13 expose the recipient to a life-threatening communicable disease;
14 and
15 (2) Share with another individual a hypodermic needle,
16 syringe, or both for the introduction of drugs or any other
17 substance into, or for the withdrawal of blood or body fluids
18 from, the other individual’s body with the intent to expose another
19 person to a life-threatening communicable disease.
20 (3) For purposes of this section:
21 (a) Sexual intercourse does not include penetration by
22 any object other than the male sex organ; and
23 (b) Sodomy does not include the penetration of the anal
24 opening by any object other than the male sex organ.
25 (4) Violation of this section is a Class IB felony.