December 12, 2007

 

Taylor Begins Circulation of Sex Offender E-Disclosure Act

MADISON – Today, Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) began circulation of the Sex Offender E-Disclosure Act in the Legislature.  The Act is the Senate companion legislation of Assembly Bill 562, authored by Representative Andy Jorgensen.  Under the Act, registered sex offenders would be required to provide and update their e-mail accounts and the internet addresses of every web site they maintain.

“Sex offenders increasingly use the internet to prey on the public, especially young people,” Taylor pointed out. “The Legislature would be remiss if it didn’t take steps to safeguard our state’s children against this relatively new threat.”

Under current law, registered sex offenders are required to provide the Department of Corrections (DOC) with updated personal information, including a copy of their fingerprints, a recent photograph, place of residence, place of employment, and the name and location of any school in which they will be enrolled.  The DOC publishes this information in its sex offender registry, alerting parents to the presence and identity of sex offenders in their communities.  The Sex Offender E-Disclosure Act would add personal e-mail accounts and websites to the list of required information.

“The internet is really just another place of association,” Taylor noted. “Like a school or a residential area, it’s a forum where sex offenders come in contact with other people.  It only makes sense, then, that we take the same precautions with the internet that we take with schools and neighborhoods.”

Although circulation of the bill does not end for several weeks, over a dozen legislators have already signed on as cosponsors.  At the end of circulation, it is expected that the Sex Offender E-Disclosure Act will be referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, and Housing, which is chaired by Taylor.

“Obviously, I’d be pleased to have the bill come before Judiciary, Corrections, and Housing,” said Taylor. “It’s a great opportunity to provide Wisconsinites—especially parents—with another tool to protect themselves and their children against sex offenders.  I’m excited by the chance to go to work on behalf of such an important cause.”