COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio already tags repeat drunken drivers' cars with bright yellow license plates. Now it wants to make convicted sexual predators use fluorescent green ones.
A bill introduced Wednesday would require all habitual and child-oriented convicted sex offenders to display the easy-to-spot plates.
No other state has tried the tactic, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though some require a designation to appear on sex offenders' driver's licenses. Ohio briefly considered requiring pink plates for sex offenders but changed the color because it was associated with breast cancer survivors.
Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who took office in January, would sign the latest bill if it passed, press secretary Keith Dailey said.
Christine Link, executive director American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, criticized the proposed requirement as political grandstanding. She said it could leave children with the idea that anyone without the special plates was safe to approach.
But Republican Sen. Kevin Coughlin, who introduced the latest legislation with Democratic Rep. Michael DeBose, said the plates would send parents and children an instant message to beware. Ohio already requires repeat drunken drivers to display bright yellow tags.
The bill is the latest in a series of Ohio measures to crack down on sex crimes. Among them: tougher minimum sentences for rapists of children under 13; increased penalties for public indecency involving victims under 13; and mandatory tracking devices after those classified as sexually violent predators serve their sentences.