Controversial Louisiana ad bill becomes law p.23

By: Editorial Staff A LOUISIANA LEGISLATURE has approved a bill that requires sex offenders to publish their photographs, along with an ad which reports their whereabouts, twice within 30 days.
House Bill 1474, which was passed this past session, states all sex offenders must publish notice ? yet only those whose victims are under the age of 18 must run a photograph. The ad must appear in the legal journal of the sex offender's resident parish.
According to the SNPA Bulletin, the Louisiana Press Association has reported that some newspapers are not comfortable with visits from convicted sex offenders. But because many parole officers "are disinclined to handle money orders or checks," visits to local newspapers are necessary.
Johnny Koch, a governmental services representative, and the Louisiana Press Association, have met with the State Department of Probation and Parole regarding the new law.
From these meetings, they've agreed on developing a form which "contains the exact verbiage of the advertisement," including whether or not a picture is required.
They decided affidavits from the newspapers to the parole officers are not required ? the sex offenders must provide tearsheets to their parole officers.
Also, newspapers may designate specific times to accept these ads, and the LPA is encouraging newspapers to adopt standard rates for these ads.
Currently, it's the responsibility of designated parole offices to handle these cases, and probation officers must keep up with ad prices. When visiting newspapers, an offender is supposed to come prepared with his ad, photo, ID, and money.
A number of Louisiana newspaper ad directors were asked to comment on the implementation of this law and its affect on their newspapers. Most agreed it's still too early to tell.


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