February 14, 2011

Harrisburg, PA – Important changes to fix a Pennsylvania law that requires the registration of sexual predators are moving through the Pennsylvania General Assembly at “legislative warp speed” because they are a priority for everyone Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association President Edward M Marsico, Jr. (District Attorney, Dauphin County) said today.

“The 2011-2012 General Assembly clearly shares the priority of Pennsylvania’s district attorneys to quickly fix the loopholes in Megan’s Law,” Marsico said.  “We are relieved and pleased to see this new legislature move with such determination to remedy what is not only a flaw in the original law, but the process flaw that killed the bill meant to fix it last session.”

Last December, Governor Ed Rendell vetoed similar legislation after it was wrapped into an unrelated bill at the end of the last legislative session.

With a new legislature and a new session beginning January 4, the General Assembly moved quickly to readdress the issue.  On the fifth day of its new session, the House Judiciary Committee moved a four-bill package addressing Megan’s Law loopholes.  Last week, the full House passed two bills focused on registering sexual offenders without a permanent address as well as out-of-state sex offenders who move to Pennsylvania.  On February 8th, less than a month since starting its new session, the Senate Judiciary Committee also reported a bill addressing out-of-state offenders.

“No one liked what happened to these bills last session,” Marsico said.  “While the legislative process is notoriously and necessarily slow, right now these Megan’s Law fixes are a priority for everyone.  Pennsylvania’s district attorneys are pleased to see the legislative warp speed that is moving these bills and urge the legislature to continue such swift progress.”

Megan’s Law makes information available to the public regarding convicted sexual predators and requires certain offenders to register with the state after they are released from prison.  The original law, however, was found to be deficient in addressing the registration of out-of-state and transient offenders.  Fixes to the law include requiring homeless and/or transient offenders to register with state police every 30 days and subjecting out-of-state offenders to penalties for failing to register.