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California lawmakers extend Megan's Law

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California lawmakers extend Megan’s Law

  • Public outcry over the potential loss of access to the state’s sex offender registry spurred legislators to pass an extension bill.

Oct. 7, 2003 — California Gov. Gray Davis signed into law last week a three-year extension of the state’s sex offender registry, commonly referred to nationwide as Megan’s Law.

The move preserves the right of the public and the media to view California’s sex offender registry, which fully identifies registered convicted sex offenders, until January 2007. Without the extension, Megan’s Law would have expired in the state on Dec. 31, 2003.

“It took us far too long to get to this point today,” said the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D-Hanford), in a prepared statement after lawmakers unanimously voted to approve the extension on Sept. 29.

“I am heartened to see that, in the end, public safety won out over partisan politics,” she added.

The same bill Davis signed into law on Oct. 1 was killed by lawmakers in the closing hours of the regular legislative session Sept. 13. State Assembly Republicans, angered that reforms to make the registry available over the Internet were not part of the bill, successfully blocked the extension from getting the necessary votes to pass.

However, public outcry over lost access to the records prompted the legislature to reconvene in late September and, ultimately, pass the bill.

California’s version of Megan’s Law went into effect September 1996, and requires convicted sex offenders to provide their local police department with “fingerprints, palm print, photo, drivers license number, vehicle license plate number, vehicle description, criminal history, occupation, employer’s address, scars, marks and tattoos.”

(AB 1313) MC

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