"Advances in technology have created more and more of an opportunity to identity theft, and it is important that our laws keep pace with very real threats to the safety and well being of our citizens," Holden said.
The legislation sponsored by Sen. Joan Bray, St. Louis and Rep. Rachel Bringer of Palmyra includes legal protection for social security numbers and bank accounts as well as biometric data, computer passwords and electronic signatures.
The current legislation only sentences a person to six months in jail for a first offense, up to one year for the second offense, and up to five years for a third or subsequent offense. Holden proposes strengthening the classification of identity theft to a Class C felony, which carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison, and to a Class A or B felony when large amounts of money or goods are involved. Class B felony carries a penalty of between 5 and 15 years. Class A is a penalty of more than 10 years.
Holden's proposal also prohibits a number of other activities, such as using the information with the intent to commit another type of felony, possessing or transferring the information to a third person who intends to commit a felony, manufacturing documents to use for identity theft, and using, transferring or possessing equipment that is used to make false documents or identification. Further, the new proposal also prohibits using the personal information of a deceased person.