Leno-Cohn bill strengthening sex offender laws
passes State Assembly
By Brigid Gaffikin, Bay City News Service
February 1, 2006
SACRAMENTO (BCN) -- A bill that proponents say would strengthen
California's sex offender laws while giving law enforcement "the
tools they need" to trace and treat offenders passed the
California Assembly Tuesday on a 49-0 vote, with 31 Republican
abstentions and one Republican vote in favor, according to Assemblyman
Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.
Assembly Bill 50, which is co-sponsored by Leno and Assemblywoman
Rebecca Cohn, D-Campbell, "increases prison terms and parole
for certain sex offenses against children and provides tougher
parole restrictions by prohibiting parolees from being on school
property," according to Leno.
But Leno is "disappointed that (the bill) didn't get a single
Republican vote" in its final form, a spokeswoman for Leno
Some $23 million in funding originally included in AB50 was removed
from the final text of the bill because no Republican members
of the Assembly voted for it with the appropriation included,
according to Leno.
The funding would have allocated $8 million to an expanded global
positioning system, or GPS, program, which is meant "to track
sexually violent predators," a spokeswoman for Leno said.
It would also have included $15 million to support county and
regional Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) teams, which
work to identify, monitor, arrest and assist in the prosecution
of sex offenders, according to Leno.
Leno has said he plans to add this funding to the bill through
The bill also introduces a program aimed at preventing relapses
by high-risk sex offenders who are in state prison and at least
two years away from parole, Leno said.
AB50 has received the backing of law enforcement associations
including the Peace Officers Research Association, the California
Peace Officers' Association and the California Police Chiefs Association.
The state attorney general's office and the California District
Attorneys Association have also supported the bill, as have Crime
Victims United, the California Coalition on Sexual Offending and
the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, according to
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