Bill would help improve tracking of sex offenders through federal support of state registries and dedicated resources to target offenders who fail to comply with registration requirements
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that bipartisan legislation that she has backed to aid law enforcement in tracking sex offenders passed the Senate this week. The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act would help improve tracking of sex offenders through federal support of state registries and dedicated resources to target offenders who fail to comply with registration requirements. Today, Klobuchar took to the Senate floor to discuss this important legislation.
“As a former prosecutor, I know the importance of sex offender registries in equipping our law enforcement officers with every tool available to prevent sex crimes,” said Klobuchar. “This commonsense bill will ensure that state and local law enforcement officials continue to have the federal resources and assistance they need to keep our communities safe from perpetrators with a history of crimes against children. Now that the Senate has passed this bill on a bipartisan basis, the House should do the same.”
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 established nationwide notification and registration standards for convicted sex offenders to bolster information sharing between law enforcement agencies and increase public safety through greater awareness. The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act reauthorizes key provisions of the 2006 act. Specifically, the bill reauthorizes the Sex Offender Management Assistance Program, a federal grant program that assists state and local law enforcement agencies in their efforts to improve sex offender registry systems and information sharing capabilities. The bill also authorizes resources for the U.S. Marshals Service to aid state and local law enforcement in the location and apprehension of sex offenders who fail to comply with registration requirements.
The bill is named for a six-year-old Florida boy who was kidnapped and murdered in 1981. Adam’s father, John Walsh, worked closely with Congress to develop the 2006 law and the reauthorization. The bill is also supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Klobuchar is a national leader in the fight to combat human trafficking. Earlier this year, she and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the Stop Trafficking on Planes (STOP) Act, which would require training for certain airline industry employees to recognize and report suspected human trafficking to law enforcement. This bill passed the Senate last month as a part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2016. Last May, her bipartisan legislation, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, was signed into law. The legislation was modeled after Minnesota’s “Safe Harbor” law, which gives incentives for all states to have a safe harbor provision to help ensure minors who are sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as defendants, but are instead treated as victims. When a state passes a safe harbor law, it means that kids sold for sex should be steered towards child protection services, rather than being arrested, charged, or convicted under a state’s criminal laws. In addition to law enforcement provisions, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act helps victims rebuild their lives by using fines and penalties against perpetrators to improve the availability of victim services.
For a broadcast-quality video excerpt of Klobuchar’s remarks, click here.