senate Bill S557

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Expands the amount of information available about registered sex offenders on the division of criminal justice services website

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to crime victims, crime and correction
Jan 09, 2013 referred to crime victims, crime and correction

Co-Sponsors

S557 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Correction Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยงยง168-b, 168-l & 168-q, Cor L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S1976A
2009-2010: A5341

S557 - Bill Texts

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Expands the amount of information available to police and the public, by means of the internet, on registered sex offenders; authorizes any person to register with the division of criminal justice services to receive e-mail notification of all sex offenders residing within their zip code.

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BILL NUMBER:S557

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the correction law, in relation to the registration of sex
offenders

PURPOSE:
To make information about all registered sex offenders able
on the Division of Criminal Justice Services home page provide for
registration of automatic e-mail notification when offender moves
into a resident's zip code.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Subdivision 6 of section 168-b of the
correction law, as amended by chapter 106 of the laws of 2006 would
be amended to change the reference to the subdirectory to a reference
to the directory of sex offenders.

Section two of the bill amends paragraphs a, b and c of subdivision 6
of section 168-1 of the Correction Law to describe what information
about a sex offender is available on the Division homepage depending
on whether the offender has been designated a level one, two or three
risk.

Section three of the bill amends section 168-q of the Correction Law
to change the title of the subdirectory to the Directory of Sex
Offenders and to authorize certain information about level one sex
offenders to be made available on the Division homepage in addition
to the current information which is made available on level two and
three sex offenders. Also provides that DCJS shall provide on its
internet home page a means for a person to register to receive notice
by mail whenever a sex offender moves into their zip code.

Section four of the bill provides that it takes effect 180 days after
it becomes law.

EXISTING LAW:
Currently, the Sex Offender Registration Act does not
require all sex offenders to be accessible on the DCJS directory
website. In addition, the Division must maintain a subdirectory of
Sex offenders which is distributed to all local law enforcement
agencies monthly in addition to being maintained on the Division home
page. In order to view the subdirectory, a person must provide his or
her name in writing.

JUSTIFICATION:
In New York State, a sex offender remains on the Sex
Offender Registry for at least twenty years. Many offenders are
required to register for life. A subdirectory of Sex Offenders is
maintained on the Division of Criminal Justice services homepage.
While this subdirectory provides valuable information concerning
those offenders who have been determined to pose a moderate or high
risk, no similar information is provided about offenders found to
pose a low risk of re-offense. A person must call the 800 number


operated by the Division or be notified by a local law enforcement
agency to learn of low risk offenders in the community.

To use the 800 number, the caller must have the sex offender's name
and either the offender's exact address, date of birth, social
security number or driver's license number. There is no fee for the
800 number. The 800 number has proved to be a useful screening tool
for certain business and volunteer agencies however, it is not as
useful for a person who wishes to know who may pose a threat to the
community but does not know the specific identifying information
required for an 800 number search. Making information about all
registered sex offenders, based upon risk level, available on the
Division home page will expand the utility of the Registry and
enhance the safety of New York's most vulnerable citizens.
Individuals and organizations who need access to Registry information
will be able to obtain such information from any computer with access
to the Internet without charge at a convenient time and will no
longer be limited to calling the 800 number. In addition, by
providing a mechanism whereby residents may register with DCJS to
receive automatic e-mail notifications whenever an offender moves
into their zip code will give individuals the peace of mind that they
will be timely notified whenever there is an individual who may pose
a risk living nearby.
Furthermore, it takes away the burden of having to check the registry
all the time to look for new offenders living in the community.

Currently, a local law enforcement agency is required, by statute, to
provide public access to the subdirectory. Agencies accomplish this
by providing a requestor with the use of a computer to view the
subdirectory on the DCJS homepage.

Discontinuing access to the subdirectory at local law enforcement
agencies will have little or no impact on the public. A number of law
enforcement agencies have reported that the subdirectory is rarely,
if ever, accessed by the public. While the public does not access the
subdirectory at a police station very often, the subdirectory
maintained on the home page is one of the most frequently visited
sites on the Division home page. In December 2006, the subdirectory
received 2,113,371 hits. Accessing the subdirectory at a law
enforcement agency is a cumbersome task. A person wishing to view the
subdirectory at a police station must ascertain the location and
time that it is available for viewing. In many cases the viewing
times are limited.

Further, many citizens may not feel comfortable requesting access at.
a police station. In contrast, the directory maintained on the
Division home page is accessible 24 hours a day from the privacy of
home. Individuals who do not have home access to the Internet may
access the directory at a public library at no charge or any business
which furnishes Internet access for a fee.
Moreover, any individual who accesses the directory from the Internet,
may print the results of the search. Printing is often not an option
when viewing the subdirectory at a police station.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2012: Senate Bill
1976-A (Gianaris) - Died in Senate Rules


Committee
01/09/08: Referred to Correction
02/12/07: Referred to Correction
2005/06: Similar to S.496-B Passed Senate/Assembly Correction
Committees

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
180 days after the bill becomes a law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   557

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. GIANARIS, AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed,
  and when printed to be committed to the Committee  on  Crime  Victims,
  Crime and Correction

AN  ACT  to amend the correction law, in relation to the registration of
  sex offenders

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Subdivision  6 of section 168-b of the correction law, as
amended by chapter 106 of the laws  of  2006,  is  amended  to  read  as
follows:
  6. The division shall also establish a [subdirectory] DIRECTORY pursu-
ant to section one hundred sixty-eight-q of this article.
  S 2.  Paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of subdivision 6 of section 168-l of
the  correction law, paragraph (a) as amended by chapter 106 of the laws
of 2006, paragraph (b) as amended by chapter 513 of the laws of 2011 and
paragraph (c) as separately amended by chapters 318 and 680 of the  laws
of 2005, are amended to read as follows:
  (a)  If  the  risk  of  repeat offense is low, a level one designation
shall be given to such sex offender. In such case  the  law  enforcement
agency or agencies having jurisdiction and the law enforcement agency or
agencies  having  had  jurisdiction at the time of his or her conviction
shall be notified and may disseminate  relevant  information  which  may
include  a  photograph  and  description  of  the offender and which may
include the name of the sex offender, approximate address based  on  sex
offender's  zip  code,  background  information including the offender's
crime of conviction, modus of operation, type of  victim  targeted,  the
name and address of any institution of higher education at which the sex
offender   is   enrolled,  attends,  is  employed  or  resides  and  the
description of special conditions imposed on the offender to any  entity
with vulnerable populations related to the nature of the offense commit-

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD01540-01-3

S. 557                              2

ted  by  such  sex  offender.  Any entity receiving information on a sex
offender may disclose or further disseminate  such  information  at  its
discretion.  IN  ADDITION, IN EACH SUCH CASE, THE NAME OF THE SEX OFFEN-
DER,  A  PHOTOGRAPH OF THE SEX OFFENDER AND APPROXIMATE ADDRESS BASED ON
THE SEX OFFENDERS ZIP CODE SHALL  ALSO  BE  PROVIDED  IN  THE  DIRECTORY
ESTABLISHED IN THIS ARTICLE.
  (b) If the risk of repeat offense is moderate, a level two designation
shall  be  given  to such sex offender. In such case the law enforcement
agency or agencies having jurisdiction and the law enforcement agency or
agencies having had jurisdiction at the time of his  or  her  conviction
shall  be  notified and may disseminate relevant information which shall
include a photograph and description  of  the  offender  and  which  may
include  the  exact name and any aliases used by the sex offender, exact
address,  background  information  including  the  offender's  crime  of
conviction,  mode  of  operation,  type of victim targeted, the name and
address of any institution of higher education at which the sex offender
is enrolled, attends, is employed or  resides  and  the  description  of
special conditions imposed on the offender to any entity with vulnerable
populations  related  to the nature of the offense committed by such sex
offender. Any  entity  receiving  information  on  a  sex  offender  may
disclose  or  further disseminate such information at its discretion. In
addition, in such case, the information described [herein] IN THIS PARA-
GRAPH shall also be provided in the [subdirectory] DIRECTORY established
in this article and notwithstanding any other  provision  of  law,  such
information shall, upon request, be made available to the public.
  Such  law  enforcement  agencies  shall compile, maintain and update a
listing of vulnerable organizational entities within  its  jurisdiction.
Such listing shall be utilized for notification of such organizations in
disseminating  such  information  on level two sex offenders pursuant to
this paragraph. Such listing  shall  include  and  not  be  limited  to:
superintendents  of  schools or chief school administrators, superinten-
dents of parks, public and private libraries, public and private  school
bus  transportation  companies,  day care centers, nursery schools, pre-
schools, neighborhood watch groups,  community  centers,  civic  associ-
ations, nursing homes, victim's advocacy groups and places of worship.
  (c) If the risk of repeat offense is high and there exists a threat to
the  public  safety a level three designation shall be given to such sex
offender. In such case, the law enforcement agency  or  agencies  having
jurisdiction  and  the  law  enforcement  agency  or agencies having had
jurisdiction at the time of his or her conviction shall be notified  and
may  disseminate  relevant  information which shall include a photograph
and description of the offender and which may include the sex offender's
exact name and any aliases used by the offender, exact address,  address
of  the offender's place of employment, background information including
the offender's crime of conviction, mode of operation,  type  of  victim
targeted, the name and address of any institution of higher education at
which  the sex offender is enrolled, attends, is employed or resides and
the description of special conditions imposed on  the  offender  to  any
entity  with vulnerable populations related to the nature of the offense
committed by such sex offender. Any entity receiving  information  on  a
sex offender may disclose or further disseminate such information at its
discretion.  In addition, in such case, the information described [here-
in] IN THIS PARAGRAPH shall  also  be  provided  in  the  [subdirectory]
DIRECTORY  established  in  this  article  and notwithstanding any other
provision of law, such information shall, upon request, be  made  avail-
able to the public.

S. 557                              3

  Such  law  enforcement  agencies  shall compile, maintain and update a
listing of vulnerable organizational entities within  its  jurisdiction.
Such listing shall be utilized for notification of such organizations in
disseminating  such information on level three sex offenders pursuant to
this  paragraph.  Such  listing  shall  include  and  not be limited to:
superintendents of schools or chief school  administrators,  superinten-
dents  of parks, public and private libraries, public and private school
bus transportation companies, day care centers,  nursery  schools,  pre-
schools,  neighborhood  watch  groups,  community centers, civic associ-
ations, nursing homes, victim's advocacy groups and places of worship.
  S 3. The section heading and subdivision 1 of  section  168-q  of  the
correction  law,  the  section  heading as amended by chapter 106 of the
laws of 2006 and subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 532 of the laws  of
2011, are amended to read as follows:
  [Subdirectory]  DIRECTORY;  internet  posting.   1. The division shall
maintain a [subdirectory of level  two  and  three  sex  offenders.  The
subdirectory]  DIRECTORY  WHICH  SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES ON
THE INTERNET VIA THE DIVISION HOMEPAGE FOR PURPOSES OF PUBLIC ACCESS.
  (A) IN THE CASE OF A SEX OFFENDER WHO  HAS  BEEN  GIVEN  A  LEVEL  ONE
DESIGNATION, THE DIRECTORY SHALL INCLUDE THE NAME OF THE SEX OFFENDER, A
PHOTOGRAPH  OF THE SEX OFFENDER AND APPROXIMATE ADDRESS BASED ON THE SEX
OFFENDER'S ZIP CODE.
  (B) IN THE CASE OF A SEX OFFENDER WHO HAS BEEN GIVEN A  LEVEL  TWO  OR
THREE  DESIGNATION,  THE  DIRECTORY  shall  include  the  exact address,
address of the offender's place of employment and photograph of the  sex
offender along with the following information, if available: name, phys-
ical  description,  age and distinctive markings. Background information
including the sex offender's crime of conviction,  modus  of  operation,
type  of  victim  targeted,  the  name and address of any institution of
higher education at which the sex  offender  is  enrolled,  attends,  is
employed  or  resides and a description of special conditions imposed on
the sex offender shall also be included. [The  subdirectory  shall  have
sex offender listings categorized by county and zip code. Such subdirec-
tory  shall be made available at all times on the internet via the divi-
sion homepage. Any person may apply to the division to receive automated
e-mail notifications whenever a new or updated subdirectory registration
occurs in a geographic area specified by such person. The division shall
furnish such service at no charge to  such  person,  who  shall  request
e-mail  notification  by  county  and/or zip code on forms developed and
provided by the  division.  E-mail  notification  is  limited  to  three
geographic areas per e-mail account.]
  (C)  THE DIVISION SHALL, ON ITS INTERNET HOMEPAGE, PROVIDE A MEANS FOR
ANY PERSON TO REGISTER TO RECEIVE NOTICE  AT  SUCH  PERSON'S  ELECTRONIC
MAIL  ADDRESS  OF  ALL  SEX  OFFENDERS  WHO RESIDE OR MOVE INTO THE AREA
ENCOMPASSED BY SUCH PERSON'S ZIP CODE. THE DIVISION SHALL PROVIDE TIMELY
NOTICE BY ELECTRONIC MAIL TO EACH PERSON WHO REGISTERS PURSUANT TO  THIS
PARAGRAPH  OF  EVERY  SEX OFFENDER RESIDING IN AND OF EVERY SEX OFFENDER
WHO MOVES INTO THE PERSON'S ZIP CODE.  SUCH  NOTICE  SHALL  INCLUDE  ALL
INFORMATION  AUTHORIZED TO BE DISCLOSED ON EACH SUCH SEX OFFENDER PURSU-
ANT TO PARAGRAPH (A) OR (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION.
  S 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
it shall have become a law.

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