Attorney General continues push for sex offender guidelines

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In January, Attorney General Ken Salazar proposed several legislative initiatives, one concerning expanded sex offender registration requirements and availability. His push was, in part, a reaction to the decision last year of the Colorado Court of Appeals and Colorado Supreme Court rulings that excluded some sex offenders from the mandatory parole law. This initiative exists now in the form of two bills.

According to Ken Lane, Deputy Attorney General, the two bills are House Bill 1155 and House Bill 1229. HB 1155 is sponsored by Rep. Joe Stengel, R-Arapahoe, and would expand the list of sex offenders whose names could be displayed on the Internet. Presently, only violent sexual offenders are displayed.

The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee, and has moved on to appropriations. Lane is confident the bill will continue to move on and become law.

HB 1229, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Veiga, D-Arapahoe, would require sex offenders to register their locations and addresses quarterly; the law now requires only an annual registration. Salazar's original proposal called for requiring semi-annual registration, but he gladly endorsed Rep. Veiga's move to strengthen the proposed law. This bill passed the House and is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A hearing was held yesterday, but no details were available at presstime. The outlook for this bill is also positive.

In his January announcement, Salazar spoke about how the current sex offender program is "a hodgepodge of responsibility" with many different local governments; some counties don't even have the resources to remain current and accurate registries of sex offenders. With these bills, and the initiative to have the Colorado Bureau of Investigations organize a statewide sex offender registry, the Colorado Attorney General's office looks to effectively use the resources available to address the issues concerning sexual offenders within the state.

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