Proposed law would make the ‘b-word’ illegal in Mass.

The bill targets using the word "to accost, annoy, degrade or demean" another person.

The gold dome of the Massachusetts State House glows in morning sunshine on Oct. 25, 2018.
–Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Update: State Rep. Dan Hunt said Wednesday the bill was filed on behalf of a constituent

***

A Boston Democrat has proposed a state law that would penalize the use of the b-word when used to demean another person.

The bill, filed by state Rep. Dan Hunt in May, is slated to go before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary Tuesday afternoon.

The measure proposes adding two sentences to the section of state law that assigns fines and other penalties for various offenses, such as crimes for common night walkers, indecent exposure, and disturbers of the peace.

“A person who uses the word ‘bitch’ directed at another person to accost, annoy, degrade or demean the other person shall be considered to be a disorderly person in violation of this section,” the bill says.

Advertisement

Alleged violations can either be reported by the person the word was directed at or by witnesses, the proposal says.

According to the bill, penalties would be similar to those outlined in the other subsections of the state law, which, depending on the subsection, provide for a fine of not more than either $150 or $200, or jail time of up to six months,

The Massachusetts Republican Party criticized and mocked the bill Monday, writing on Twitter, “Beacon Hill Democrats like (Rep. Dan Hunt) are fearlessly taking on the biggest problems facing the commonwealth.”

“Do you believe free speech matters? Tired of (Massachusetts Democrats) dictating what you can say?… Come on Down to the State House. Rooms A1&A2. First floor. Let ’em have it,” MassGOP wrote while referencing Tuesday’s committee hearing in another tweet.

Hunt’s office did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday morning.