Battin Bills to Improve Megan’s Law Website Accuracy Pass Senate Public Safety Committee

SACRAMENTO – Today, legislation by Senator Jim Battin (R – La Quinta) to require the Attorney General’s Office to verify the accuracy of online information posted on its Megan’s Law website passed the Senate Public Safety Committee with a 5-0 vote.

Battin’s bill (SB 277) seeks to ensure correct and up-to-date information is being provided to the public through the internet sex offender registry. The bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

California has had registration requirements for sex offenders since 1948. Sex offenders are already required under current law to register with local law enforcement for life. When changing residence or location within any city or county where they may reside, offenders have five working days to register with the local chief of police or sheriff.

Senator Battin’s bill ensures that this information gets updated on the online Megan’s Law database every time they are required to re-register.

“I want to ensure that we are posting accurate information as quickly as possible,” stated Senator Battin. “According to recent media reports there is an error rate of approximately 30% when it comes to California’s sex offender’s whereabouts as stated online. I want to improve on that number to better account for many of these potentially dangerous predators,” continued Battin.

The information provided on Megan’s law is only as useful as it is accurate. Inaccuracies can be destructive and harmful to innocent individuals. Someone who moves into a home or residence that was once occupied by a sex offender may be inappropriately associated with the crimes of the prior resident. Battin’s bill seeks to eliminate this problem by providing more accurate and up-to-date information.

The Senate Public Safety Committee also passed another one of Battin’s bills today (SB 43), which would add child pornographers to the list of offenders posted online. This bill also is headed for the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Battin’s bills are supported by many including, the Peace Officers Association of California (PORAC) which represents 58,600 rank-and-file peace officers and 710 local peace officer associations.