Though this blog is was originally intended as a resource for offenders in Massachusetts, much of what I write about is applicable to sex offenders in every other state and many countries around the world, especially in Western Europe. Even other non-sex offenders trying to navigate prison, probation and parole, or employment and education opportunities can glean relevant information from this blog and apply it to help overcome their own struggles.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Westford (MA) rep's sex-offender bill gets boost: Calls for online posting of Level 2 or above
The man whose actions spurred this legislative proposal was a Level 1 offender working at his wife's illegal daycare. Neither is specifically addressed in Rep. Arciero's proposal, but rather "...the discussion of Level 1 offenders is not thrown out the window."
BOSTON -- The House of Representatives took a major step toward making information about Level 2 sex offenders available online Wednesday when the Ways and Means Committee added a provision that would do so to the 2014 budget bill.
Rep. James Arciero, D-Westford, has been leading the push to make information about Level 2 offenders available online for several years now. Last year a bill he filed to do so was reported favorably out of the Judiciary Committee.
That bill was never voted on, though, since the legislative session ended two days after the Judiciary Committee approved it.
Passing a standalone bill may not be necessary now since the provision was added to the budget with support from Speaker Robert DeLeo.
The overall budget bill will now be subject to amendments before a final vote in the House, so the provision could still be removed, though it appears to have broad support in the House. Arciero's standalone bill had 36 co-sponsors.
It was not immediately clear how much support the proposal has in the Senate, though Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, has expressed support for the idea.
Information about Level 3 sex offenders is available online, but information about Level 2 offenders is only available to those who visit their local police departments. Information about Level 1 offenders is available only to police and a few other government agencies.
Rep. Stephen DiNatale, D-Fitchburg, is one of the co-sponsors of Arciero's bill, and he said the move by the Ways and Means Committee puts the proposal on a solid path to become law.
"I think this has great potential to go all the way and have the governor sign it," DiNatale said.
Gov. Deval Patrick has already expressed support for making information about Level 2 sex offenders available online.
Such a move would bring the state closer to compliance with the federal "Adam Walsh Act," or Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which calls for information on all levels of sex offenders to be public.
If the provision passes and such information is posted online, the state could become eligible for about $600,000 per year in federal grant funding, according to Arciero and Laurie Myers, of Chelmsford, who has supported the idea. Myers is the president of Community Voices, a victim's rights organization.
Myers and Arciero also support making information about Level 1 sex offenders available online, but that proposal has not been the subject of public hearings or the amount of debate as the proposal for Level 2 offenders.
Arciero and Myers said that proposal is still on their agenda.
"The discussion about Level ones is not thrown out the window," Arciero said. "We still need to have that discussion."
Myers applauded both Arciero and the Ways and Means Committee for moving forward with the proposal.