Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Showdown in the Senate: Fireworks to Erupt Over Sex Offenders: Part II

As I previously wrote, the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday passed a committee substitute for Senate Bill 205, the Governor's sex offender bill. While we knew the committee had rejected a GOP alternative, not until the committee substitute was printed online this morning did I discover that the committee had actually gutted a bill that was already an empty shell going into the committee.

Unlike the House Judiciary Committee's committee substitute for HB 4039, SB 205 as it stands now (bill text of Judiciary Committee substitute) will have no civil commitment law for sexually violent predators and now has no new criminal penalties for any sex offenses until after (1) a person has been convicted of a sexually violent offense, (2) that person is found by the court to be a sexually violent predator or a pedophile, and (3) the person, after all this, then goes out and commits either sexual assault in the first or second degree or sexual abuse in the first degree. There is no mandatory GPS tracking of sex offenders on postrelease supervision and absolutely no mandatory prison sentences whatsoever, even for the proposed tougher penalties for sexually violent predators or pedophiles who reoffend. This is outrageous!

The Ruling Party in this state has no intention of passing a meaningful bill to protect everyone from all types of felony sex offenders. Of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, only the Republicans and Senator Randy White, D-Webster, supported a meaningful bill.