Panel considers bills tightening child predators laws in Nevada |

Panel considers bills tightening child predators laws in Nevada

BEN KIECKHEFER, Associated Press Writer

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Assembly Judiciary Committee was asked Thursday to endorse bills tightening and revising Nevada’a laws protecting children from sexual predators.

One measure, SB397, requires that school police be notified when a person convicted of sexual crimes expects to enroll or work at a college or university.

When sex offenders register with local law enforcement, they’d have to tell that department of their intent to attend or work at a college or university. Law enforcement agency would then notify the school’s police.

Jodi Tyson, director of the Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence, said another provision allows volunteer groups on campus to know the background of some of their volunteers.

She said two people who volunteered at a University of Nevada, Las Vegas center that disseminates information about sexual abuse were later found to have been convicted of sex crimes.

SB394 revises state laws on annoying or molesting children to comply with Nevada Supreme Court rulings. The bill also puts mentally ill people into a status similar to the laws protecting children from sexual predators.

The bill also states that the crime of unlawful contact with a child applies if the offender is five years older than the victim and the victim is under 16 years old.

Assemblyman Harry Mortenson, D-Las Vegas, said the proposed statute could have put him in jail had it been on the books years ago. He said he married his wife when she was 19 years old after five years of courting. He’s eight years older than her.

But proponents of AB394 said the child would have to feel intimidated, frightened, terrorized or harassed for the law to apply.

The bill also changes state law regarding the manufacturing of methamphetamines. It states possession of chemicals needed to make the drug must be coupled with the intent to produce it in order for someone to be prosecuted under the law.

Kristen Erickson, a lobbyist for the Washoe County district attorney’s office, said the law is necessary to help stop drug manufacturers.

“Without this they must be caught in the act of manufacturing methamphetamine (to be prosecuted),” Erickson said.

Another bill, SB300, tightens laws regarding predatory acts over the Internet. Chief Deputy Attorney General Kevin Higgins told the committee the bill was drafted to help law enforcement.

While current law defines the illegality of sending obscene materials to minors over the Internet, the bill would change “obscene” to “material that is harmful to minors.”

Higgins said that change is essential because it’s difficult to enforce obscenity laws due to the subjectivity of the term “obscenity.”

Another provision would update Nevada law to keep it in line with a congressional act that allows police to subpoena records from Internet service providers.