Legislature files two bills banning pornography for sex offenders

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The Florida Legislature filed two bills this week banning sex offenders from viewing or possessing pornography. Members of both the House and Senate say the proposals could help prevent offenders from committing crimes in the future.

“I believe there is a way that we can strike a balance between keeping civil liberties safe and also keeping the public safe from the risk of re-offenders of sexual violence,” said Democratic Rep. Katie Edwards, who filed the House version (HB 73).

Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel filed SB 182, the Senate version of the bill.

Florida already has prohibitions on sex offenders having access to or viewing pornographic materials “relevant to the offender’s deviant behavior pattern.” The bills put forth by Edwards and Stargel go one-step further, calling for full prohibitions.

Sex offenses should be a key topic during the 2014 legislative session, with lawmakers questioning if the state has done enough to prevent sexual predators from repeating their crimes.

Pushing the issue to the forefront in the eyes of legislators have been a series of articles in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, as well as the high-profile rape and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle of Jacksonville.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.