Hawley’s Albany Update

May 24, 2007

One of the most important bills we passed this year was the civil confinement law, which keeps the most dangerous sex offenders off the streets once they are released from prison.

Throughout my time in the state Assembly, I have served as a vocal advocate for civil confinement, but more importantly, laws to keep our children safe. Now that we finally have a strict civil confinement law, some fourteen years after it was first introduced in the Assembly, no longer will we hear of Level 3 sex offenders being released into communities where children live and play, like in Hilton and Batavia.

Despite this important victory for the safety and well-being of New York’s families, more should be done to keep these monsters away from innocent and unsuspecting youngsters.

Earlier this month, the state Senate passed two bills that would help close loopholes in Megan’s Law to limit close contact with minors by sex offenders, and calls for stiffer penalties for those who falsify their name and address with law enforcement.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Jim Alesi, restricts a convicted Level 3 sex offender from living within a quarter of a mile of a school or daycare facility. The other bill makes it a felony for a convicted sex offender to give false information to a law enforcement officer.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice has a public registry database from which law enforcement and concerned parents can use to see if a registered sex offender lives in a particular neighborhood. The registry exists to keep families informed, and I encourage you to use the database if you have any questions about who may be living in your community.

I applaud the Senate for passing these common sense measures aimed at protecting the most vulnerable population – our children. The unfortunate reality is that these bills are not new to the state Legislature. In fact, since 2003 these bills have been held up in the Assembly, having never reached the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Today, I am calling on my colleagues in the Assembly to put aside political differences and get these bills passed. When it comes to the safety of our children, partisan squabbling has no place in the discussion.