Today, Governor Bobby Jindal signed five bills into law from the Governor's 2010 legislative package to strengthen the ability of law enforcement to track down and punish sexual predators that prey on children.
Governor Jindal said, "These new laws continue to build on our aggressive efforts to root out the monsters that prey on our children. They also provide our law enforcement officials with the tools they need to fight sexual predators on multiple fronts - in the streets and on the internet -- so we can create a safer environment for our children."
HB 191 by Rep. Jonathan Perry is a Governor's package bill that creates a "Habitual Sexual Offender" law to increase the sentences for habitual offenders. This new law will specifically take habitual sex offenders into consideration and offer harsher penalty options applicable to certain sex offenses. If an offender is charged under the proposed "habitual sex offender law" after conviction of a first and second felony sex offense, the offender can be punished by no less than two-thirds of the longest possible sentence for conviction of the second felony and up to three times the longest possible sentence. If the sex offenses are committed against children under age 13, the habitual offender may face a lifetime sentence.
HB 193 by Rep. Joseph Lopinto is a Governor's package bill that creates administrative subpoena authority for certain law enforcement officials to more effectively obtain electronic information about sex offenders. In order to decrease the amount of time that a child is potentially being victimized, this new law gives certain subpoena authority to investigators in child exploitation cases so an investigator can generate an administrative subpoena on departmental letterhead and issue it to the Internet Service Provider to further the investigation.
HB 290 by Rep. Kirk Talbot is a Governor's package bill that provides stronger sentencing options for the distribution and production of illicit pornographic materials. This new law will give prosecutors additional options for charging individuals with distribution and production of pornography, which will carry higher sentences of 5 to 10 years for distribution and 10 to 20 years for production.
HB 291 by Rep. Ernest Wooton is a Governor's package bill that creates an additional sentence option for those who initiate sexual crimes against a minor through a computer. This new law provides a penalty option of between 7 and 10 years when computer-aided solicitation results in actual sexual conduct and the age difference between the perpetrator and the victim is greater than five years. The new law will provide a stronger penalty option than the current felony carnal knowledge statute, and prosecutors can use this statute when an individual has sexual contact with a victim by first soliciting them online.
SB 56 by Sen. Danny Martiny is a Governor's package bill that allows for certain officials to acquire property involved in the commission of certain sex crimes so the property can be used as a revenue source to fight back against further sexual crimes. Upon a guilty ruling, the new law will allow the personal property used by the offender at the time of the offense to be forfeited and sold.
In addition to bills that were part of the Governor's legislative package to crack down on sex offenders, he also signed the following bills that strengthen sex offender laws:
HB 376 by Rep. Ernest Wooton is a bill that relates to parole revocation for certain sex offenders. The bill makes it clear that a sex predator that violates parole will have to return for the duration of his/her sentence. Present law provides that any offender who has been released on parole and whose parole supervision is being revoked for his first technical violation of the conditions of parole, as determined by the Board of Parole, shall be required to serve a maximum of 90 days without diminution of sentence or credit for time served prior to the revocation. As a result of HB 376, it will be clear that sex offenders do not receive the benefit of present law.
HB 640 by Rep. Chris Hazel is a bill that strengthens sex offender registration laws and closes gaps in compliance measures that previously allowed sex offenders to reduce their time of registration without having a complete "clean record."
HB 1436 by Rep. Barbara Norton is a bill that requires the principal of any school upon receipt of the notification to post notices in conspicuous areas at the school which state the offender's name, address, and a statement on the notice, commensurate with the education level of the school, which in the discretion of the principal, appropriately notifies the students of the potential danger of the offender.
SB 780 by Sen. Sherri Cheek is a bill that compliments HB 191 by Rep. Perry by adding enhanced penalty options for habitual sex offenders. Additionally, the bill prohibits sex offenders from engaging in certain types of employment.