Second proposal to ban sex offenders from Facebook moves forward

Baton Rouge, La. (AP) - A rewriting of a state law to ban certain sex offenders from Facebook and other social networking sites neared final passage Tuesday with unanimous backing of the Senate.

The existing law was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge.

A bill (House Bill 620), sponsored by Rep. Ledricka Thierry, D-Opelousas, would more narrowly define what sites are prohibited.

Thierry's bill would ban certain sex offenders from websites whose primary purpose is "facilitating social interaction with other users of the website and which allows users to create web pages or profiles about themselves that are available to the public or other users." The proposal spells out that news websites, e-mail pages and online shopping sites aren't included in the ban.

"The attorney general feels that the language should pass constitutional muster," said Sen. Jonathan Perry, R-Kaplan.

The prohibition would apply to anyone convicted of a sex offense against a minor or of video voyeurism. Conviction of the crime of unlawful use or access of social media would carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years. A second conviction would mandate a prison sentence of at least five years and up to 20 years.

Both the House and Senate have passed the bill. It returns to the House for approval of Senate changes.