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New bill could change way sex offenders are registered

Sex Offender Bill -- KESQ 6PM

THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - Some sex offenders could soon lose their lifelong registration in the state of California. That's if a new bill headed to the California Senate is signed into law.

"It really changes it drastically, which is not fair to us as parents and our community and keeping us safe," said Mika Moulton, with Christopher's Clubhouse.

As the law stands all sex offenders in the state are registered for life, no matter the severity of the crime. SB 421 seeks to establish a tiered registration system based on the type of offense a sex offender has committed. Moulton said this change will cost us.

"The sex offender registry began in 1947 but it went back to 1944. So now we have to go back to 1944 and see who is still around in California, what their crimes were, would they be in a tier 1 2 or 3. If they're a tier 3 then they're on for life but if they're not where are they on that system. It's an extensive process that's going to have to happen," Moulton said.

The three tiers are broken into years of registration, from 10 years to 20 and then a lifetime. But offenders may petition to request lower tiers.

"So if they're on there for 10 years, after the first year of being on there they can petition to be taken off. They would go to the law enforcement and then they forward it to the district attorney's office who writes it to be taken off. So someone who is a tier 1, which means possession of child porn or lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 or selling a minor for illegal acts, those are tier 1 offenses. That's ridiculous," Moulton said.

Parents we spoke with have mixed opinions on the bill.

"As a parent I lean toward the black ball them for life. But then as an adult and as a citizen, there are other things that they get labeled for where they aren't a danger to society as a whole, maybe they got caught doing something they shouldn't be doing," said  Julie Fleischman who lives in Rancho Mirage.

"I think that's absolutely absurd. I think they should be on there for life, because once you do it once, you can do it again," said Rochelle Martinez, a mother of two.

SB 421 is currently in the preliminary stages and Moulton wants to keep it that way.

"I felt it really important for me to travel up to Sacramento and try and speak to legislators. I'm trying really hard to get appointments and I'm having a difficult time with my own senator (Sen. Jeff Stone), as a constitute. He is on this Public Safety Committee and will vote on this on Tuesday, so I haven't been able to talk to him yet," Moulton said.

On Tuesday, the bill goes to the Public Safety Committee for a vote, but before then Moulton said she's going to make her voice heard.

We reached out to Sen. Scott Weiner, the author of the bill, for comment but have not heard back.

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