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KY: Committee hears sex offender’s social media bill


FRANKFORT, Ky. — A bill on sex offender’s use of social media was approved today by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 70 is trying to clarify and revise Kentucky’s restrictions on internet access for registered sex offenders. Sponsor Rep. Joseph M. Fischer, R-Fort Thomas, said he introduced the measure after a unanimous decision by U.S. Supreme Court in June of last year struck down a similar North Carolina ban.

He explained that HB 70 is an attempt to narrowly tailor Kentucky’s statutes as to meet the new judicial standard and not restrict the First Amendment right to free speech. A federal judge had expressed concern the old restrictions prevented registered sex offenders from even logging onto the website of their local newspaper.

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  1. Lovecraft

    Here we go again, i guess Kentucky was the first state brave enough to test scotus. i knew someone was gonna try them soon. I havent seen the bill, but Im sure whatever they plan on trying will either be too weak to have any effect on anything (not likely) or will attempt to ban people based on crime commited. It will still be a first amendment rights issue, due process issue, and ex post facto issue. Hopefully an immediate injunction gets filed on it before it can even take off. They keep reminding people registrant=predator so tired of hering this…

    • AJ

      Well said, and exactly right. Absent a clear statement from SCOTUS, this game of RC-whack-a-mole will continue ad infinitum. We lose, though, because they can pass laws faster than the courts strike them.
      Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, voted for HB 70 but expressed concern that if the bill becomes law it would also be overturned in court.

      Fischer said he thinks the measure could withstand any potential court challenge.

      “With these changes I believe that the amended law (HB 79) will withstand constitutional scrutiny and still be a useful tool to help protect young people from known sexual predators,” Fischer said in closing of his presentation before the committee.
      Well, there’s at least one KY legislator who seems to get it, even though her personal take on it shines through via that yes vote. And of *course* Fischer thinks it will stand…what sort of an idiot would a legislator need to be to introduce legislation s/he does not thing will pass muster?
      Here’s a link to the Bill:
      It’s certainly more narrowly tailored, but I still see problems. So a RC cannot Tweet a congrats to an Olympic medalist? Cannot ask questions of a Harvard savant? Cannot read about a young chess champ?
      The way it’s written, this Bill won’t even allow an RC to *learn* about said medalist, savant or chess geek! This doesn’t have a fighting chance, as it’s punishing innocent behavior. To say, “thou shalt not exercise your First Amdt. rights with anyone under 18” is an attack on one’s Free Speech and Assembly. Given the dearth of known cases where a RC has used social media to find another victim, I’m skeptical there’s even a compelling interest. Interest, yes, but compelling?

      • Lovecraft (@AJ)

        The biggest problem with all rc laws is they try to keep anyone registered from ever having contact with a minor for any benign reason or even incidental contact for the rest of their registered time/life which is not only idiotic, but impossible to achieve. ( see presence restrictions especially in NC) If all of us are that much of a threat why are we even free? Shouldnt the legislators focus their efforts in locking us all away forever? Lastly (and i think this speaks volumes about us as a whole) if we were even a fraction as bad as advertised with almost 900k people registered you would expect to see us commiting horrendous crimes (mass shootings, rapes, armed robbery, arson, etc) at an astounding level. You would think a group of people with not much to lose, jobless, bleak outlook, homeless, and alone would become far more violent than we have……I guess the legislators got it wrong after all.

        • AJ

          Obviously you don’t get that, but for these laws, that’s exactly what would be happening….except for the fact that none of it was happening prior to the laws being enacted. As you, and all of us, know, there’s no arguing logically with the pro-ML crowd. None.

        • Alexo

          The recidivism for us isn’t even that complicated to calculate. All you need to do is literally look at court records. How many people prosecuted for ANY sex offense had ANY previous sex offense conviction? What’s that? Less than 5% you say?

          The BS about “unreported” crimes is BS because it’s a wash. You can’t say that RC’s subsequent crimes go unreported at higher rates than the same crimes for first time offenders. Any unreported crimes would equally apply to both groups. Except that we actually have fairly solid data that those who have already prosecuted actually have a lower tendency to re-offend than someone who’s never been prosecuted.

          I keep saying this and I’ll say it again: If it was up to the courts to certify scientific data, Earth would still be officially flat.

        • AJ

          I’m stumped to come up with a crime that cannot be or isn’t under reported. I can attest to a few that are. 😉

        • Chris F


          Logic would actually dictate that sex offenders crimes would be less “under-reported” than anyone else because we are known and every move under a microscope. Even if there was no registry, most of our crimes would be known to family and friends and with over 90% of sex crimes committed by family and friends, I am sure they would be both more vigilant and more likely to report on us than a first time offender.

        • Tim Moore

          As far as groups I have met, registrants rank up there with the highest in civility. Even the more troll like on this site seem to be more like grumpy Ocar the Grouches than disgruntled mean spirited deamons.

  2. Registries for all! 😡

    The Bill’s sponsor “explained that HB 70 is an attempt to narrowly tailor Kentucky’s statutes as to meet the new judicial standard…”
    As we’ve seen in Pennsylvania, if registrants win a legal victory, the lawmakers immediately propose a narrowly tailored replacement.

    The only way to defeat the Registries is to add more and more people to them. Only when EVERYONE in this country has a son, brother, father, uncle, good friend or neighbor on a Registry will the public turn against the Registries and demand they be abolished.

    • CR

      Only when EVERYONE in this country has a son, brother, father, uncle, good friend or neighbor on a Registry will the public turn against the Registries and demand they be abolished.

      I don’t think the public will ever demand that the registries be abolished. Registries are just way too popular, and irrational fear of the bogeyman is so great that the public will demand that the registries continue to exist. Just not for their loved ones.

      Instead, they will demand a narrow exception for people whose crime exactly matches the characteristics of the crime that resulted in their own “son, brother, father, uncle, good friend or neighbor” having to register.

      The legislators will similarly never give up crafting new ways to add people to the registry, and keep them there forever.

      We need judicial wins on constitutional grounds.

      • Facts should matter

        We’re NOT beholden to the public.. nor are we at their mercy. It’s not our “duty” to register and appease public opinion. I don’t owe anyone with a child in America a society debt. It’s not a woman’s right to keep her children safe at the expense of circumventing an individual’s pre-existing liberties, freedoms, privileges and protections.

        When you “register,” you’re agreeing to live a LIE.

        • CR

          I mostly agree with you, Facts should matter. I think we owe a debt to our victims, but we don’t owe society any debt. The state seems to take it personally, though. My indictments both ended with the phrase “… against the peace and dignity of the state.”

          We do often seem to be at the mercy of the public. We are a politically powerless minority, and they just the opposite.

      • Dustin

        I don’t even concede that the public keeps calling for the registry. There’s data out there that says most people don’t look at it and those that do so so out of curiosity. Sure, there are a few nazis and Nosy Rosies out there but I’m willing to bet that they’re a small minority. Politicians, of course, like it for the money generated and the cheap political points earned.

        At the same time, I agree that there won’t be a public clamoring to abolish the registry either. Seems to me the public will be indifferent unless they or a loved one is on it.

  3. C

    My God, if I was a politician who genuinely cared about the well being of children, or was just trying to make a name for myself, I’d be focused on doing something to prevent mass murders of children, not the viewing of publicly available social media profiles.

  4. Eric

    The FBI just loves using their sophisticated equipment to troll the internet to find someone that downloaded images. About 500,000 have been convicted in the US to date, but they can’t seem to find if a predator is using social media, so they need a permanent ban. This is just astonishing.

    • AJ

      Well of course it’s much easier to catch people for images when you’re the world’s largest purveyor of them! If the FBI ever commandeers FB, maybe they will have some success in finding these social media perps. Also, I’ve got to think the CP searches are heavily automated, making it nothing but a batch job that runs while Chief Wiggum eats donuts and Chintzy Pop ( Meanwhile that social media stuff involves–*gasp*–work and effort…or waiting for mom and dad to call and say little Sarah can’t be found so she must have been taken by a predator. In truth, little Sarah has most likely run away or been taken in a custody dispute (

    • Tim L

      A database is a useful political tool.
      Domestic Surveillance operators realized they needed a court precedent to advance their desire to utilize the tool to its maximum effectiveness domestically when confronting constitutional questions early in development. The Wetterling ruling in DOE V CON & ALASKA granted that authority, by institutionalizing SORs electronic indenture. Electronic monitoring of sex deviants, child assaulters made the perfect scape goat domestically.

      Wire tapping acts, prohibited unreasonable or otherwise warrantless searches under the 4th &14th were all on the radar. RICO act tactics had taken the surveillance crowd so far, the electronic era job was a quantum leap in capabilities

  5. Chris F

    Once again, a law that can’t possibly achieve any of its stated goals, just like Packingham.

    Restrictions on communications and forcing someone to disclose identifiers will only be followed by those following the law anyway. Those with nefarious intent won’t provide anything and won’t be using the identifiers they already provided when doing something that is already illegal.

    You just can’t restrict normally legal activities when there is no intent to commit a crime.

  6. Dustin

    So if an RC reads the online version of a Kentucky newspaper and runs across a story about, say, an elementary school student winning a spelling bee, the RC is in violation. “Gathering information about minors” is an awfully vague phrase.

    For that matter, wouldn’t it also apply to simply watching television? Isn’t TV “electronic communication”?

    But of course, the fearless DAs in Kentucky would use common sense when prosecuting such things…

  7. HopingForHope

    Does anyone know what the registration requirements are for those who visit Kentucky?
    I have poured through the laws and statutes and really can’t find anything related to this. The NARSOL website even states nothing could be found. ACSOL (this website) quotes the Rolfe Survey which says 14 days before you have to register if you’re visiting, but I’m not sure how accurate that is, plus it seems like a long time. I want to vacation there, but obviously don’t want to run afoul of any registration requirements.
    I plan to be there 5 days.

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