Complete coverage of the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature.

Bill May Force Sex Offenders to Identify Themselves Online

By Omar Villafranca
|  Saturday, Jan 12, 2013  |  Updated 10:53 AM CDT
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    Bill May Force Sex Offenders to ID Themselves Online

    A bill introduced in the Texas House would force sex offenders, who are allowed to use the Internet, to identify themselves, their offense and even give out their address on social media sites.
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    A new bill in the Texas Legislature would force sex offenders to identify themselves on social networking sites.

    Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, said he is pushing House Bill 23 in part because social media sites such as Facebook aren't doing their jobs.

    "When you become a member of Facebook, you agree to the terms and conditions, and one of the terms and conditions now is that you cannot be a sex offender, a convicted sex offender," he said. "Now, of course, it's not enforced and so now this is being left up to other states to make sure we have enforcement mechanisms."

    If passed, the measure would make certain sex offenders who still have Internet access privileges put specific information in their profile. The information would include identifying themselves as a sex offender, the type of offense and where the offense took place, as well as the offenders' full name, date of birth, sex, race, height, weight, eye color and hair color. The offender's current address or where they hope to live would also have to be included.

    "In this day of the Internet, we are doing so much more online, and we need to make sure we're being pretty vigilant about who we're communicating with," Fischer said.

    The bill doesn't include any specifics on who would enforce the bill should it become law. A spokesman for Fischer said while offenders do have to register with local law enforcement and DPS, exactly who would enforce the measure will be decided in the legislative process.

    More: House Bill 23

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