Predatory offenders may have more places to stay away from.
HF3505, sponsored by Rep. Karla Bigham (DFL-Cottage Grove), would prohibit registered predatory offenders from accessing social networking Web sites, such as MySpace and Facebook.
Approved by the House Finance Committee April 18, the bill now moves to the House floor.
A companion, SF3172, sponsored by Sen. Mee Moua (DFL-St. Paul), awaits action by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill would deny access to Web sites that are set up for the “purposes of friendship” and allow anyone under age 18 to become a member or have a personal Web page.
Deputy Attorney General David Voigt said similar bills have been introduced in other states, and New Jersey has passed a law prohibiting all Internet access for registered predators.
Concerns were raised by Rep. Bruce Anderson (R-Buffalo Township) about future constitutional challenges, and Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia) said the bill was taking too much discretion out of the hands of judges.
Rukavina said that although the state has made strides in getting people out the prison system, the state may have become overzealous. “When we put this stuff in statute we take away a judge’s ability to be just. So we have no justice left in the system. And that’s what’s happening with some of these laws that we’ve been passing recently.”
Bigham said the bill is a continuation of last year’s legislative efforts to catch predators trying to take advantage of minors over the Internet.
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