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Lawmakers amend bill to restrict sex offenders’ access to social media

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In response to a ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, two Indiana lawmakers have introduced a proposal restricting sex offenders from using social media sites.

State Sens. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, and John Waterman, R-Shelburn, are seeking to reinstate limitations on sex offenders’ access to Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites in Indiana.

Last week, the federal court declared Indiana’s current law unconstitutional on the grounds it was too broad. Waterman authored the original bill, Senate Enrolled Act 258, which made it a Class A misdemeanor for sex offenders to use social networking sites they know allow access to youths under age 18.

The 7th Circuit described the law as a “blanket ban on social media” which targeted a great deal more activity than the actions it wanted to address.

“Although I don’t agree with the court ruling, we will comply with it while working to approve a narrower version of the law that will pass the constitutionality test and safeguard Hoosier kids,” Waterman stated in a press release.

The lawmakers amended the new proposal into Senate Bill 220 since filing deadlines have already passed. If approved by the Indiana General Assembly, SB 220 would narrow the class of individuals prohibited from using social media websites to Class A felony child molesters and sex offenders convicted of child solicitation.

SB 220 would also prohibit criminals designated by I.C. 35-42-4-11 – persons required to register as sex or violent offenders for crimes like kidnapping, seduction and exploitations – from using social media websites to communicate with Hoosiers younger than age 16 without the permission of the parents or guardians.

 

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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