Louisiana lawmakers are known for being tough on sex offenders. Today, a new bill was passed that requires all registered sex offenders to note their criminal status on all of their social network accounts -- like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn -- similar to how state registration requirements work, according to CNN.
"It provides the same notice to persons in whose home you are injecting yourself via the Internet," Louisiana State Rep. Jeff Thompson said, according to CNN. "I challenge you today to walk down the street to see how many people and children are checking Pinterest, Instagram, and other social-networking sites. If you look at how common it is, that's 24 hours a day, seven days a week for somebody to interact with your children and your grandchildren."
Thompson is the bill's author and said that it's the first of its kind in the U.S. According to CNN, the law goes into effect August 1.
The legislation comes on the heels of a law signed by Governor Bobby Jindal last month, which maintains that "certain" registered sex offenders cannot use social networks at all. Earlier this year, Jindal tried to get even stricter legislation passed that would have completely prohibited registered sex offenders from using social-networking sites, chat rooms, and peer-to-peer sites. However, a federal judge tossed the law, saying its scope was too broad and that hundreds of sites fit within its definition of "networking."
Facebook and other social-networking sites have long prohibited sex offenders from signing up for accounts and have removed those that managed to log on. "You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender," the social network's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities reads.
According to CNN, Louisiana's new law is meant to catch those people the social networks miss. The law says that a registered sex offender "shall include in his profile for the networking Web site an indication that he is a sex offender or child predator and shall include notice of the crime for which he was convicted, the jurisdiction of conviction, a description of his physical characteristics... and his residential address."
Those who violate the new law face up to 20 years prison time with hard labor, without parole and along with fines of up to $3,000.