Bill Limiting Convicted Sex Offenders’ Access To Public Libraries Going Through Louisiana Legislature
Metairie Rep. Joe Lopinto represented Livingston Senator Dale Erdey's bill in the state House. He says the bill bars them from being in or near libraries while groups of children are present. "It puts that liability on that sex offender to not be in the library during those certain times unless they are restricted," says Lopinto.
Lopinto says the bill is similar to existing laws concerning sex offenders and schools, playgrounds and other places kids go. He says library boards must create their own rules to restrict the time, place and access sex offenders have to the library. "That's why they have to have these separate rules because I think it would be unconstitutional to prohibit that person from being in the library at all times and that's why this is narrowly tailored for them to come up with those rules," says Lopinto.
Lafayette Rep. Nancy Landry questioned the enforcibility of the bill. Landry said, "I got messages from librarians back home who have some concerns about this bill and one of the things they are concerned about is having to confront a sex offender and saying "Are you a sex offender? Are you supposed to be in this area?"
Landry is concerned how convicted sex offenders will know when they can legally use the library, or when parents will know not to have their kids at one. "How are the rest of us going to know that Friday is Sex Offender Friday at the library?" says Landry.
The bill returns to the state Senate for concurrence on a state House amendment. If passed, the bill then goes to the Governor's desk. If approved, the bill goes into effect January 1st.