SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A bill that will change the way some convicted sex offenders register in California passed out of the state's Senate Committee on Public Safety on Tuesday morning.
Senate Bill 421 would reorganize the registry into a tiered system and group existing registered offenders into three categories based on the severity of their crimes.
"In 1985, I lived in California when my son Christopher was born, but a few years later we moved to my hometown in Illinois, and Chris, at the age of 10, was abducted, heinously assaulted and brutally murdered by a repeat offender," said child safety advocate Mika Moulton during the meeting. "How can we justifiably say that exposure with intent to commit lewd and lascivious acts against a child, or that possession of child porn is something that doesn't need to be listed on the public Megan's Law site?"
Moulton's efforts to dissuade members of the committee proved fruitless. It was voted upon immediately after and passed by a large majority. Those who favor it said it will cut down on costs and would allow those who have been convicted of a lesser crime, more lenient repercussions.
"It would save the public a lot of money. It's extremely, extremely expensive to monitor sex offenders," local defense attorney Roger Tansey told KESQ News Channel 3's and CBS local 2's Katie Widner. "California is one of the few states that has a lifetime registration for absolutely anything. It makes no difference if you ran drunk down the street or had sex with a 4-year-old. I think anybody listening can understand, those are two completely different things."
Moulton said she supported a tiered system, but not the way in which SB 421 is currently written. Republican state Sen. Jeff Stone, who sits on the committee, agreed.
"I regret that I have trouble with this bill, especially the retroactive provisions of this bill that would allow a large percentage of tier one and tier two registrants to be taken off the registry as soon as 2018," he said.
Stone was the only one in the committee who voted against it. Moulton said she plans to work with the committee to amend the bill and close the gaps, keeping what she called, the "integrity" of the registry.
KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 will continue to follow the progress of the bill as it develops.