Monday, April 7, 2014

CT - Bill would require state to notify mayors about sex offender placements

Just another pointless law
Original Article

Hmm, the state has an option to email people when a "sex offender" is placed into the community, or moves, this is yet another pointless law. And given the fact that "sex offenders" move so much, how quick will it become a pain in the butt to get an email every time one moves?


By Adam Benson

If a measure before Connecticut legislators becomes law, when registered sex offenders leave prison and are placed into a Connecticut community, the chief executive officer of the town or city would be notified by the state.

On Wednesday, the General Assembly's Judiciary Committee voted 40-0 in favor of Senate Bill 432, which, if approved, would charge the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection with alerting mayors or first selectmen via email when a registered sex offender is provided with local housing. The measure is co-sponsored by state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague.

If legislators in both chambers approve the bill, it's up to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to sign it into law, which could take effect July 1.

Lawmakers said a controversy that flared up last year in Norwich was the impetus for the provision.

Former Mayor Peter Nystrom led a vocal group of city officials who assailed the state for placing offenders into city apartments upon their release from a treatment facility known as The January Center, on the grounds of Montville's Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center.

In early February, the influential lobbying group Connecticut Conference of Municipalities included the proposal in its list of legislative priorities.

This bill is a direct reflection of the problem we ran into in Norwich. We're doing this for chief elected officials of cities and towns to get more information,” Osten said. “They need to know who is living in their community. When residents come to them with questions, they need to know what's going on.”

Norwich Mayor Deb Hinchey said she supports the legislation if it brings peace of mind to residents.

It's about being responsive to the citizens, and if they feel it gives them an extra measure of comfort or protection to have the mayor notified, I think that's fine,” Hinchey said. “If the law passes, I would certainly sit down with (Police) Chief (Louis J.) Fusaro and the city manager and figure out the process that we would implement to make sure the information was put out where it needed to be.”

In a statement, spokeswoman Brenda Bergeron said the state department already sends information about the whereabouts of sex offenders to local law enforcement, and it will fully cooperate with any new provisions.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection is committed to the continuing improvement of all facets of public safety and stands ready to comply with the notification process outlined in the bill. It may be noted that this information is already provided to municipalities through their local police departments or resident state troopers,” she said.

Eastern Connecticut officials aren't the only ones backing S.B. 432.

In March 12 testimony before the judiciary committee, state Sen. Joseph Crisco Jr., D-Woodbridge, said the prompt flow of information to local leaders regarding sex offenders living in their towns is “important.”

I believe it is important for parents to be given the tools and information that would allow them to ensure the safety of their children. For this reasons, I urge support of this bill,” he said.
- This bill is NOT about parents having the info, that is already available, it's about notifying mayors, but they can also get notifications as well.  It just goes to show you that those in charge of passing unconstitutional laws have no clue what they are doing!

Norwich Alderman Mark Bettencourt, a former correctional officer and chairman of the City Council's Public Safety Committee, said S.B. 432 is good law.

For us, it's just a matter of following it. If it's coming in to a chief elected official, they're going to have to make the push to follow through and make sure the job gets done,” he said.

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