Ten years ago, when Megan's Law went into effect in New York State, it was one of the most groundbreaking criminal justice measures in state history. Megan's Law mandated for the first time that convicted sex offenders be listed on a statewide registry that helped keep track of their whereabouts.
Under the original law, however, most sex offenders were only required to register for ten years. On January 21, 2006, the 10th anniversary of the effective date of Megan's Law, 168 sex offenders across New York State will drop off the sex offender registry because they have met the 10-year mandate. Hundreds more will drop off the sex offender registry each month thereafter, totaling over 3,500 offenders statewide by the end of 2006. Ninety-two of those offenders reside in Nassau County.
Once they are off the list, our communities won't be able to keep track of them. They could move into a home next door to you and you wouldn't even know it.
That's why I was pleased to support the passage of legislation in the Senate that would amend Megan's Law to require lifetime registration of dangerous sex offenders and prevent sexual predators from coming off the state sex offender registry later this month. Enactment of this legislation would help to keep our communities informed about and protected from the predators who prey on the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Unfortunately, the state Assembly Majority has not yet agreed to lifetime registration. Instead, that house passed legislation establishing a moratorium that would keep sex offenders on the registry through the end of March of next year.
Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver both recently called for a conference committee to resolve the differences between the bills. Thankfully, those meetings will begin soon, because the clock is ticking on this important legislation. I remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached by January 21, so that no sexual predator is allowed to come off the registry.