At our children’s’ expense, don’t we ever get tired of that? Manuela Fuentes-San Diego,Freelance

Assembly bill 784 a tough Bonnie Garcia (Republican) Bill related to protecting children from sexual predators was thrown into the assembly “suspense” file essentially killing the bill! AB 784 would fund Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Teams. This funding is critical to tracking sexually violent predators and protecting the welfare and safety of Californians. Local agencies lack the personnel, training and access to the data that will help them to cross jurisdictional lines to track predators not in compliance. With the assistance of the Dept. of Justice, a regional approach would increase surveillance and intelligence gathering to prevent repeat offenses of high risk parolees and probationers.

The need for AB 784 is overwhelming. Recent data shows approximately 44 percent of sexual predators are not registered as required under Megan’s Law, and law enforcement officials are unaware of their current locations. California has approximately 100,000 sexual predators who are required to register with their local police department. This population is highly mobile and crosses boundaries on a consistent basis, in and out of state. The recent study that found 44% have failed to register or are out of compliance also found that the State lacks the ability to address the growing problem.

The types of crimes and type of criminals has changed. Luring children through the internet, pornography rings, violent crimes and international rings are now prevalent within the state. There are currently 29 known “Sexually Violent Predators” released in California. California averages 12 Sexually Violent Predators released in California each year. With limited means to enforce the registration requirement law, Sexual predators are essentially as free as the State Assembly allows them. By watering down legislation and playing the ol’ political upmanship game, sexual predators are winning through omission and state legislators weakness.

The Office of the Attorney General, California District Attorneys Association, California Sexual Assault Investigators, California State Sheriff’s Association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California ALL support the “suspended” AB 784.

The State Assembly is again playing politics instead of doing what is right in protecting our children. Mark Leno, (Democrat) put together a “save face” bill, (AB 50) by cannibalizing the tougher Garcia bill. Instead of making a better, tougher, relevant proposed law, the Leno bill essentially plagiarized portions of the Garcia bill and took pieces OUT including portions of the Jessica’s Law initiative that would protect children and families from sexual predators.

A weaker, more lenient Leno bill sailed through the Democrat controlled Assembly. It is political business as usual for California, now at the expense of our own children. Who’s child will be next?