Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sex Offender Monitoring Bill Gets Committee Okay

A House committee approved a bill Wednesday that would require all violent sex offenders to wear a monitoring bracelet allowing the state to keep track of their whereabouts.

HB 1219, sponsored by Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, would apply to about 400 people in Colorado who have been convicted of such violent sex crimes as rape, sexual assault of a child or unlawful sexual contact with a child. The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure after narrowing its introduced scope, which would have reached anyone convicted of any crime considered sexual in nature.

The bill's supporters got help at the hearing from the father of a Florida girl who was murdered after being abducted and assaulted by a sex offender in 2005.

Mark Lunsford told the committee that the cost of the bracelets and monitoring is less than that of re-incarcerating offenders or of losing more children to violent predators.

The monitoring devices would allow law enforcement authorities to track convicted violent sex offenders' movements via satellite.

The Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to refer the bill to the House Appropriations Committee.