July 22, 2011

Pennsylvania doesn't expect Megan's Law fine

7-22-2011 Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania won't meet a July deadline to modify its sex offender laws, but state officials are confident they will be exempted from a fine.

The federal government is threatening to withhold 10 percent of some Department of Justice (DOJ) grants for states that miss the July 27 deadline to comply with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

That could amount to almost $2 million for Pennsylvania based on the average allocated to the state in recent years.

So far, Pennsylvania is among 40 states that haven't won final approval of sex-offender laws from the federal office that supervises the federal program.

States must reapply to get the withheld money returned to implement sex offender law changes, but there is no guarantee that they will get the money back.

Gov. Tom Corbett's chief spokesman Kevin Harley said the state "substantially complies" with the act and is formally asking the DOJ to waive the potential fine.

"We haven't received an official submission from Pennsylvania. Until we do and have issued a decision to the state, we cannot comment or speculate on any penalty or compliance issues.," said Scott G. Matson, a senior policy advisor for the federal oversight office.

Harley said state officials are confident the exemption will be granted because the state has taken numerous steps, including updating the state police sexual offender's web site.

Two offender-reporting loopholes have been closed by Pennsylvania lawmakers.

In addition, an overall corrective bill is in the Senate Judiciary committee awaiting action when the General Assembly is back in session in September, Harley said.

SB1130 is sponsored by Sen. Jane Orie, R-McCandless, and cosponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart R. Greenleaf, R-Bucks, Montgomery, and many others.

The measure strengthens reporting requirements for sexual offenders and better protects the welfare of victims, Orie said.

The bill also calls for, in some cases, using the names of juvenile sex offenders on the Megan's Law web site. Juvenile offenders wouldn't be designated as lifetime offenders unless they were convicted as adults, she said.

"I don't anticipate losing the federal money," she said.

State Sen. Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said the bill has been revised by Senate and House staffers as well as the governor's staff.

"It's my understanding that the administration is working to do whatever it can to apply for an exemption" to the fine, Costa said.

"We're making sure it meets the Justice Department criteria," said Steve Miskin, an aide for House Speaker Samuel Smith, a Republican who represents Jefferson County and parts of Armstrong and Indiana counties.

Miskin said legislative leaders and the Corbett administration are "keen to get this done." ..Source.. by Chuck Biedka, VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH


Anonymous said...

First of all, withholding grant money is not a fine. It is more like a BRIBE.The Byrne Formula Grant provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance is given to States for use in 29 different purpose areas (basically to assist and improve state justice systems)of which one is assisting (not copensation) VICTIMS of violent crime. (Anti Drug Abuse Act of 1988Public Law 100-690).
Why did I have to give all of that public info??? Well, just so you could see what is plainly going on here.The FED is telling the States "Look , either you impliment SORNA like we tell you...OR...we're not going to give you the grant money to help VICTIMS,or anybody else". So, EVERYBODY gets PUNISHED if they don't comply! the States, the victims, the offenders, EVERYBODY! REALLY MESSED UP.That's my opinion. What's yours??

Just another SO said...

$2,000,000 for Pennsylvania from the Federal Government. That's what, Pittsburg's police payroll for a week? What's the big deal. The states should tell the federal government to take their grant funds and shove them. The amount of moneys being talked about is minimal when compared to the amount of money it's going to cost the states to impliment the AWA and SORNA acts.

All the states need to grow a pair and tell the Feds to shove off.