The Senate Public Safety Committee today approved a weakened version of Assembly Bill 514.
The original version of AB 514 would have prohibited some individuals convicted of a sex offense involving a minor from living within 1,000 feet of day care centers. The bill would have applied to both registrants on parole as well as registrants not on parole.
The amended version of AB 514 does not prohibit any individual convicted of a sex offense from living near a day care center. Instead, it requires local law enforcement officilas to notify day care centers when a registrant moves within 1,000 feet. This requirement does not apply to individuals whose names are currently exempt from the Megan’s Law website.
During consideration of the bill, three organizations — ACSOL ACLU and CA Public Defenders — spoke in opposition to the original bill. The organizations educated committee members about recent court decisions which have determined that similar residency restrictions are unconstitutional and/or limited the restrictions only to registrants while on parole.
Senator Scott Wiener stated he had “serious concerns” about the language of the original bill. He added that the bill would have the effect of excluding all registrants from living in densely populated cities such as San Francisco, a city he represents. He also stated that the original bill would require registrants who currently live near day centers to move.
Senator Nancy Skinner, who chairs the Senate Public Safety Committee, stated that she shared Senator Wiener’s concerns. She added that the sex offender registry, as currently established, is flawed despite last year’s passage of a Tiered Registry. She suggested the amendment that was ultimately decided upon and which the bill’s author, Assembly Rudy Salas, agreed to.
The bill must next be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee where it could face opposition by the law enforcement community that would bear the expense of notifying day care centers about registrants who live nearby.