SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a package of legislation that will help better protect California’s children and families from sexual offenders. The bills will ensure that businesses providing goods or services to minors are informed if a potential employee is a registered sex offender, improve the quality of sex offender assessments and ensure the continued existence of the state’s Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB).
“Public safety is my number one priority and I am committed to protecting all Californians, particularly children from sexual predators,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “That is why I am proud to sign each of these bills that will make our state and children safer by enhancing California’s already tough measures to monitor and assess sex offenders.”
AB 307 by Assemblymember Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) amends existing law to require registered sex offenders to disclose their registration status to prospective employers when applying for a job where they would be working directly and in an unaccompanied setting in a position that provides goods or services to minors.
SB 325 by Senator Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose) expands the breadth of existing sex offender risk assessment practices – strengthening the process to help ensure these assessments are reliable enough to be held up in court challenges.
SB 588 by the Public Safety Committee ensures the continued existence of the state’s SOMB –created to assess the practices in managing adult sex offenders under supervision, identify best practices and make recommendations on how to implement changes – past its January 1, 2010 sunset date.
Governor Schwarzenegger has been a strong supporter of laws that protect children and families from sexual offenders. Some of his most significant actions include:
· In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation to put the Megan’s Law database on the Internet – requiring the information of certain sex offenders’ conviction, physical description and home address to be listed and available to the general public.
· In 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation increasing penalties for child rapists, child pornographers and Internet predators, created the SOMB to help better track dangerous parolees, made the use of GPS to monitor sex offenders a permanent program, required registered sex offenders to disclose their registration status to prospective employers when applying for certain jobs and prohibits child molesters from employing minors.
· In 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 1172 by Assemblymember Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) requiring the state to provide longer notice to law enforcement, victims and communities when a sex offender is scheduled to be released.
· In 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation that establishes stricter probation standards for offenders with child pornography-related convictions and increases the registry requirements for sexual offenders mandated by Megan’s Law.