Senate votes to ban ‘upskirting’ in Georgia

The state Senate unanimously backed a measure Wednesday that would ban "upskirting" and make it illegal to surreptitiously take a video of a person's private parts in a public place in Georgia.

Senate Bill 45 brings the state a step closer to finally curtailing the lewd practice, after the state Court of Appeals found last year that there was no specific law in Georgia that banned upskirting and that decades-old laws being used to prosecute such cases simply did not envision criminal acts committed with modern technology.

Sponsored by state Sen. Larry Walker III, R-Perry, the bill would make upskirting a felony, with those convicted of the crime facing up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.

The House is considering a similar measure, House Bill 9. Both pieces of legislation come in response to the appeals court's decision which overturned an invasion-of-privacy conviction against former grocery clerk Brandon Lee Gary.

Gary had used his cell phone in 2013 to take videos from under a woman’s skirt as she shopped at a Publix grocery store in Houston County.

“I think,” Walker said, “the general public was pretty shocked this was not already against the law to do that.”

With the vote, SB 45 is now headed to the House for consideration.