Panel OK’s Nevada sex predator list
A Senate panel voted unanimously Thursday to endorse a plan making it easier for the public to find and track Nevada’s worst sex offenders.
SB218 was approved by the Judiciary Committee with amendments to ensure that people requesting information from the state wouldn’t have to give their names or other information about themselves.
Sen. Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, sought the amendments, saying, “The state makes this information available to the public, and anyone should be able to get it.”
Care also said his amendment would block authorities from opting to withhold any aliases or work addresses.
SB218 would pave the way for a statewide, searchable Nevada sex predator Internet listing. It would allow for broad geographic searches and for the release of details including offenders’ work place, school and home address.
The measure also would eliminate any cost associated with searching the state’s registry of sex offenders.
Under current law, the state Department of Public Safety releases criminal histories only if searchers know the sex offenders’ names and specifics like address, eye color or Social Security numbers. While some local police agencies maintain web listings, there is no state web site.
Advocates of SB218 told lawmakers earlier that the U.S. Supreme Court has given added momentum to the proposal by recently upholding the constitutionality of two other states’ Internet sex predator listings.
Daryl Riersgard, who heads the state criminal history repository, also told legislators that the $50,000 startup cost would be covered by the Children’s Advocacy Alliance and a federal grant. No money would be needed from the state general fund, though it was unclear how much web site maintenance would cost.
Riersgard said the registry currently gets 2,500 phone calls about suspected sex offenders per year, and predicted that number would jump dramatically under the proposed bill.
Offenders must register with local police once they’re released from prison and whenever they move. They must also report annually to the state Department of Public Safety. Failure to do so is considered a felony.
SB218, now moving to the Senate floor, came from Sens. Ray Rawson and Barbara Cegavske, both Las Vegas Republicans.