RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – State legislators passed a law Saturday that would require adults who French kiss a child younger than 13 to register as a sex offender.

Those convicted of tongue-kissing a child would be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The House of Delegates passed the legislation 96-1 and the Senate 39-0.

The bill now heads to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who said he supports the legislation.

Delagate Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell, introduced the bill on behalf of a woman whose 10-year-old daughter was French-kissed by the 62-year-old husband of her babysitter.

The only crime prosecutors could charge the man with was contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which did not require that he register as a sex offender.

Ingram and other members of the House fought to make the crime a felony, but in the final day of the 2008 General Assembly session gave in to senators who thought that classifying it as a felony was too harsh.

Delegate Phillip Hamilton, R-Newport News, cast the lone nay vote, refusing to back down from his belief that the crime should be a felony.

“I think that type of behavior is so egregious it warrants a felony,” Hamilton said.

Ingram said he was satisfied that a conviction would land someone on the sex offender registry.

AP-ES-03-08-08 2141EST


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