South Dakota is poised to update its laws against child sexual abuse images to include those created by artificial intelligence, under a bill headed to Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.
The bill, which is a combined effort by Republican Attorney General Marty Jackley and lawmakers, also includes deepfakes, which are images or videos manipulated to look like a real person.
In an interview, Jackley said some state and local investigations have required federal prosecution because South Dakota’s laws aren’t geared toward AI.
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The bill includes mandatory, minimum prison sentences of one, five and 10 years for first-time offenses of possession, distribution and manufacturing, respectively.
The GOP-held House of Representatives passed the bill with others in a 64-1 vote on Monday. The Republican-supermajority Senate previously passed the bill unanimously.
Another bill on Jackley’s legislative agenda also is headed to Noem, to make the animal sedative xylazine a controlled substance.
Last year the Office of National Drug Control Policy designated the combination of xylazine and deadly fentanyl as an ” emerging threat.” Jackley has said xylazine has “become a national epidemic” and has appeared in South Dakota, mainly in Sioux Falls.
Xylazine can cause health problems in humans, including difficulty breathing, dangerously low blood pressure, a slowed heart rate, wounds that can become infected and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The bill, which allows xylazine for veterinary use, would create penalties of up to two years in prison and/or a $4,000 fine for possession and use of xylazine.
The Senate passed the bill unanimously on Monday, after the House did the same last month. The South Dakota Health Department and Jackley brought the bill.
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Noem highlighted the xylazine issue in her State of the State address last month.