Senator Nozzolio Announces Passage Of Legislation To Strengthen Megan’s Law

Michael F. Nozzolio

May 03, 2005

Albany - Ten years after the enactment of legislation creating New York State’s Sex Offender Registry, the New York State Senate acted today on the “Tenth Anniversary Omnibus Sex Offender Registration Reform Act.” The bill (S.4793-B) would strengthen Megan’s Law in 25 ways, including: mandatory notification by police when a registered sex offender moves into a community, lifetime registration of all sex offenders, requiring information about all levels of sex offenders to be posted on the Internet, and GPS monitoring for the worst offenders.

"The public hearings my Committee has held clearly demonstrate the strong public support for increased security and public notification of any sexual offenders living in a community,” said Senator Michael Nozzolio (R-C, Fayette), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime, and Correction. “Sexual predators cannot be rehabilitated and the statistics show the highest recidivism rates for these dangerous and depraved criminals. I look forward to continuing to gain the input of community leaders and working to keep our streets safe and our children secure from sexual offenders."

The legislation is the result of three public hearings held by the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee in Albany, Long Island and Manhattan over the past month. Law enforcement officials, teachers, school officials, parents, and advocates participated in the hearings to discuss a variety of issues surrounding sex offenders and Megan’s Law.

Maureen Kanka, whose daughter Megan was raped and killed by a sexual predator, championed the passage of the original Megan’s Law in 1995 and spoke at the first hearing in Albany last month. Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro and Mark Lunsford, the father of a nine-year-old Florida girl who was abducted and killed by a known sexual predator in March, were among those testifying yesterday at a hearing held in Manhattan.

According to the most recent statistics, New York State has over 21,000 registered sex offenders.

“Strengthening the notification provisions of Megan’s law will help keep our communities safer from individuals who prey on women and children. Enacted in 1995, Megan’s law was a historical piece of legislation that must be updated and improved upon. We must use technological advances that were not available ten years ago, such as the internet and global positioning devices, to help protect New York’s residents from dangerous sex offenders,” added Nozzolio.

“Loopholes in the current law have allowed sex offenders to live undetected and it is critical that we strengthen Megan’s Law and help ensure children are kept out of harm’s way,” continued Nozzolio.

The “Tenth Anniversary Omnibus Sex Offender Registration Reform Act” would require:

> Mandatory community notification to ensure that parents know when a sex offender is living nearby;

> Lifetime registration of sex offenders to prevent convicted predators from going “off the books”. Under current law, there is a 10 year limit on registration and 3,200 offenders will come off the list next year;

> Posting of information for all levels of registered sex offenders on the Department of Criminal Justice Services website;

> Global positioning system tracking of Level 3 sexual predators;

> The elimination of legal loopholes in the law that are being exploited by offenders to avoid being placed on the registry.

Since enacting Megan’s Law in 1995, the New York State Senate has acted on 68 separate occasions to pass legislation strengthening Megan’s Law and 180 times on other legislation dealing with sex offenders.

Since 1997, the Senate has passed legislation that would provide for the civil commitment of sexually violent predators who are likely to engage in repeated acts of sexual violence. Senator Nozzolio sponsored the most recent version of the bill (S.3273), which passed the Senate in April of 2005 and was sent to the Assembly.