Pink plates proposed for Ohio sex offenders

| Friday, December 02, 2005

From the state that made bright yellow license plates mandatory for certain convicted drunken drivers, a new effort would make Ohio’s worst sex offenders go pink.

A pair of Ohio state lawmakers want repeat child molesters and other serious sexual offenders to be forced to display pink license plates for at least five years after their release from prison.

Sen. Kevin Coughlin, R-Cuyahoga Falls, and Rep. Michael DeBose, D-Cleveland, have sponsored legislation that would require the plates for any personal or commercial vehicle.

They say it would be a good method for warning parents and children, but the rule would not be retroactive.

Opponents complain the bill would only cover about 3,000 of the roughly 13,000 registered sex offenders living in Ohio, the Dayton Daily News reported. The plates also could lead to harassment of people who’ve already been punished.

Ohio law already requires drivers with multiple drunken driving convictions to display special license plates that identify them to police for random stops.

Similar provisions for convicted drunk drivers are in place in Georgia and Minnesota.

According to The Associated Press, Georgia and Minnesota use a special combination of numbers or letters to identify motorists convicted of driving while intoxicated.

Many other states have debated similar rules, including New York and Tennessee this year, but most bills have died after debate about privacy issues.

The Ohio bills – HB217 and SB229 – are in committee and awaiting assignment to a committee, respectively.