Sex-offender bill is rejected

By Kevin Yamamura — Bee Capitol Bureau
The Sacramento Bee
January 11, 2006

A state Senate committee on Tuesday killed a “Jessica’s Law” proposal to
punish sex offenders that was one of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s top
priorities this year.

Senate Bill 588 by Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, would have increased
penalties for various sex crimes, required satellite monitoring of sex
offense felons and forced sex offense registrants to live more than 2,000
feet from schools and parks.

The legislation failed on a 5-2 party-line vote in the Democrat-dominated
Senate Public Safety Committee. Democrats in recent days have said they
object most to the 2,000-feet provision because they believe it would
shift sex offenders from cities to rural areas.

Runner was willing to change the 2,000-feet distance provision, but the
Senate panel did not find that amendment sufficient.

Runner said he and his wife, Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster,
will still pursue signatures to place an initiative on the June ballot.
To do so, they need to obtain 373,816 signatures of registered voters by
Feb. 21.

Runner said he is willing to work with Democratic legislators on their
sex-offense proposals but that “we just don’t think there’s a serious
effort to get something by the February date.”

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