Who’s Protecting Your Kids from Sex Offenders?

We’ve talked in this space about smart phone apps that allow parents to see where registered sex offenders live, and it’s information that can also be found online. But what happens when states don’t participate in the national sex offender registry?

Although the bill establishing a national sex offender registry was signed into law more than six years ago, nearly 36 states have failed to meet the conditions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, citing concerns about how it works and how much it would cost. Some states – including Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, California and Nebraska –have opted out of the program, according to the Associated Press.

Although states were supposed to comply by 2009, the U.S. attorney general extended that to July 2011. The states could lose millions of dollars in government grants for failing to comply, but some states claim it would be more expensive to meet the registry’s requirements than to lose the money.  In Texas, for example, they concluded they would lose $1.4 million in funding, while implementing the changes to comply with the registry would have cost $38 million.

What will the ramifications be for states that choose not to comply? Will sex offenders gravitate to states that have less stringent laws? The Senate is expected to hear concerns on this matter during the current session to see what changes can be made to encourage participation.

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