From the state that made bright yellow license plates
mandatory for some convicted drunken drivers, a new effort would make Ohio's
worst sex offenders go green.
Two Ohio state lawmakers want all habitual and
child-oriented sex offenders to be forced to display fluorescent green license
plates for at least five years after their release from prison. The
first-of-its-kind legislation has the backing of Gov. Ted Strickland.
Rep. Michael DeBose, D-Cleveland, and Sen. Kevin Coughlin,
R-Cuyahoga Falls, are the sponsors of the legislation that would require the
plates for any personal - or commercial vehicle - owned by the offender. They
offered a similar bill a couple years ago that called for sex offenders to
display pink license plates but changed the color because it was associated
with breast cancer survivors, The
Associated Press reported.
They say it would be a good method for warning parents and
children. The rule would not be retroactive for all sex offenders.
Opponents say the legislation could leave children with the
idea that anyone without the special plates was safe to approach, The AP reported. They also fear the
plates could lead to harassment of people who've already been punished.
The state already requires drivers with multiple drunken
driving convictions to display bright yellow tags that identify them to police
for random stops.
Similar effort in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, the state Senate Monday, March 5,
overwhelmingly approved similar legislation. Sponsored by Sen. Brian Crain,
R-Tulsa, the bill would identify registered sex offenders on their state
The bill - SB35 - would require convicted sex offenders to
obtain a new license stating their status as a sex offender. Those who fail to
comply could have their license canceled for one year and be fined up to $200.
Crain said the bill would be especially helpful for
businesses to identify workers who shouldn't be around children as part of
their job duties. It has been forwarded to the House for further consideration.
The Ohio bills - HB83 and SB56 - are awaiting assignment to
committee and are in the Senate Judiciary-Criminal Justice Committee,