Rhode Island : 14 More Sex Offender Bills

July 2, 2009

Providence Journal : Sex-offender bills stall in R.I. Assembly.

Providence – Lawmakers introduced at least 14 bills dealing with sex offenders this session. With the General Assembly in recess, five have made it through either the House or Senate, but not both.

The bills would:

•Require registered sex offenders who temporarily live in the state for at least 14 days to register with police in the community where they are residing. The Senate approved it Tuesday.

(So if you vacation in Rhode Island for 14 days or more, you must register with police). Update: this law has now passed and is completely unenforceable. The state has no means to determine when someone visits their state for more than 14 days – it’s simply a “feel-good” law with no teeth.

•Make it a felony for convicted offenders to knowingly enter playgrounds, daycare centers and schools. The House over the weekend recommitted the bill for further study.

(Discarding the fact that this law is virtually unenforceable – what are they going to do; station a police officer at every park and playground with sex offender profiles on their laps? – is this really constitutional? Banning citizens whose taxes go toward paying for these parks and playgrounds? And what about the parent who has a child in the school?)

•Require convicted offenders to be monitored by wearing global positioning system devices while they appeal the level of their sex-offender classifications. Bill supporters say appeals last months or years and public notification about an offender is prohibited during appeals. The bill is on the House calendar.

(This one is astonishing: a sex offender who committed a crime 10-20 years ago may be forced into appealing their re-classification if they challenge the Adam Walsh Act. And as a result, they are forced into GPS monitoring?)

Landlords registered as sex offenders would have to disclose their status on leases to prospective renters. The House passed the bill June 26.

(There is simply no reasonable purpose to this bill. Landlords provide housing to renters as a business venture. This bill is just another way to “stick it” to those so-called ‘monsters’ who once made a mistake in their past)

•Reimburse communities for the costs of public notification about sex offenders. The Senate approved the bill June 11; it last surfaced before the House Judiciary Committee.

(Yeah, they want those who are being publicly shamed to pay for the privilege of being branded)

Rep. Nicholas Mattiello, D-Cranston, sponsor of the House bill barring offenders from playgrounds, schools and daycare centers, said “neither the House nor the Senate version” of the bill, “as they are presently constructed” will pass. He said he was “very hopeful” a proposal that will pass can be drafted later this month, but he was concerned that supporters will run out of time.

Several proposals have drawn constitutional and other concerns from some lawmakers and the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.

We encourage all readers to contact legislators in the Rhode Island General Assembly.to remind them how stupid they are

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