The Public Safety Committee approved by a vote of 4 to 2 Assembly Bill 702 (AB 702), which would create a tiered registry for sex offenders in California. The vote took place after testimony from three representatives of California RSOL as well as oral support from organizations including but not limited to the ACLU and California Attorneys for Criminal Justice. Additional support came from registrants and family members who attended the hearing. “The committee’s passage of AB 702 is a vital first step leading to the creation of a tiered registry bill,” stated Janice Bellucci, President of California RSOL.
During the hearing, Chairman Ammiano testified that passage of the law is necessary in order to increase public safety by allowing law enforcement to focus upon those who pose a current risk to society. Bellucci testified that passage of the bill will save state and local governments about $115 million a year. Two members of the committee –Skinner and Mitchell –spoke in support of the bill. Both female Assembly members stated that the current system is ineffective in part because there is no distinction between individuals on the registry. That is, individuals convicted of a minor offense such as public urination or “sexting” are required to register for a lifetime as are individuals convicted of a multiple sexual assaults.
The remaining steps needed to pass AB 702 are consideration by the Appropriations Committee and final consideration on the floor of the Assembly. The Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill in May. Final consideration on the bill is expected no later than September.
“This is the time for all registrants, family members and supporters to express their support for AB 702,” stated Frank Lindsay, Treasurer of California RSOL. “It’s time to call your elected officials, send them an E-mail and/or write them letters.”
Contact information for Assembly members can be found online at www.asm.ca.gov.