Albany – Ten years after the enactment of legislation creating New York State’s Sex Offender Registry, Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Fayette), Chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, held a public hearing today that will culminate in legislation strengthening Megan’s Law to protect more children, ensuring that people are better informed about the presence of sex offenders in their community and imposing stronger punishment on sexual predators to prevent them from preying on innocent victims.
Megan’s mother, Maureen Kanka joined Senator Nozzolio and members of the Senate to announce a series of hearings, the first being held today in Hearing Room A of the Legislative Office Building in Albany. Maureen Kanka opened the hearing calling for reform of Megan’s law as it currently stands and asked the New York State Legislature to increase penalties against sex offenders.
“Strengthening the notification provisions of Megan’s law will help keep our communities safer from individuals who prey on women and children,” said Senator Nozzolio. “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.”
“It is critically important that we reform Megan’s law now,” continued Nozzolio. “In 2006, over 3,000 Level 1 and 2 sex offenders will be dropped from the sexual offender registry, allowing them to avoid the scrutiny of law enforcement. In addition, as the law currently stands, law enforcement are not required to notify communities when a dangerous sex offender moves into town.”
Denise Baylor of Shortsville, and Janet Schumann of Macedon, provided testimony at today’s hearing. In addition, Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn of Monroe County and Sheriff Phillip Povero of Ontario County provided testimony of the role that law enforcement will play in the reform of Megan’s law.
In 1995, Maureen Kanka partnered with Senator Nozzolio and the Senate Majority to champion the passage of Megan’s Law in both chambers of the Legislature. While the Sex Offender Registry first passed the State Senate in 1994, Mrs. Kanka’s advocacy and involvement were instrumental in its enactment.
Senator Nozzolio is holding the public hearings to solicit the participation of law enforcement, educators and school officials, parents, advocates and others regarding a variety of issues including:
● Lifetime registration of sex offenders to prevent convicted predators from going “off the books”;
●Global positioning system tracking of sexual predators;
● Mandatory community notification to help ensure parents know when a sex offender is living in their neighborhood;
● Civil commitment of sexually violent predators after they’ve completed their prison sentence, to protect the public from criminals likely to commit repeated acts of sexual violence; and
● Posting of information for all levels of registered sex offenders on the Department of Criminal Justice Services web site.
A second public hearing will be held on Long Island on May 26th.