October 26, 2011

Senate Panel Endorses Rafferty's 'Adam Walsh' Bill

10-26-2011 Pennsylvania:

(HARRISBURG) – Legislation cosponsored by Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery) to strengthen Pennsylvania's laws and better protect children from sexual offenders was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

The measure was amended to strengthen its provisions, close loopholes in current law, and ensure that the Commonwealth complies with federally mandated national standards to strengthen sex offender registration and notification.

"This is a critical step in establishing a coordinated and national system for the registration of sexual offenders and closing existing loopholes – so that we can better enforce laws and keep children safe," Rafferty said. "This bill creates a national registry and that law enforcement officers can access and will be available on the Internet. It also toughens penalties for offenders and ensures that they are more carefully tracked if they move from state to state."

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1183 was amended in the Judiciary Committee to:

Increase the amount of information collected from each offender and requires Pennsylvania to include more information on its Internet website. In addition, Pennsylvania State Police would be required to communicate registration information with federal, state and local police departments more quickly than they currently do.

Extend the registration requirement to juvenile offenders who commit rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit these offenses.

Expand the list of sexually violent offenses subject to the law and groups offenders into multiple classifications, depending on the severity of the offense.

Recapture back into Megan's Law offenders with prior convictions for sexual offenses but not currently subject to registration, if the offender re-enters the criminal justice system because of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than one year.
The bill also requires notification to the federal government if the offender intends to travel abroad and requires transient sexual offenders to register and update their registration information,

Rafferty said these changes will make the legislation even stronger and more effective, and ensure that Pennsylvania meets national guidelines. ..Source.. by John Gentzel

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