Through the first on-time New York State Budget in 21 years, both houses of the State Legislature passed an initiative requiring registered sex offenders to have updated photographs taken for New York State’s Sex Offender Registry. Previously, the New York State Senate has passed similar legislation authored by Deputy Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).
"Given the passage of time, it is inevitable that the appearance of the sex offender will change from the time that their pictures were initially taken," said Senator Skelos. "If the purpose of the sex offender sex registry is to be carried out, it is important that updated photographs be provided so that the public can be aware of the current appearance of convicted offenders."
As passed by both the State Senate and State Assembly, S.3666 requires Level 3 sex offenders to have a new photograph taken each year, while Level 1 and Level 2 sex offenders will be required to update their photo every 3 years.
"Hoping to go about unnoticed in communities across the state, sex offenders frequently change their appearance and place themselves in positions where they can access our most vulnerable. If signed into law, this legislation would help community members recognize those that are known to pose a risk to public safety." Laura Ahearn, Executive Director, Parents For Megan’s Law.
In 1995, Senator Skelos authored New York State’s version of the Sex Offender Registry. Subsequently, Senator Skelos has written, and enacted, numerous initiatives strengthening Megan’s Law. Currently, sex offenders are required to register a minimum of ten years, and some are required to register for life. This legislation requires level three, the most dangerous of sex offenders, to update their photograph annually and levels one and two sex offenders be required to update their photograph every three years.
"These measures will strengthen registration procedures and prevent these predators from circumventing Megan’s Law," said Senator Skelos. "Information is the key and these initiatives will offer parents new tools to ensure the safety of their families."