Chelsea's Law Continues to Gain Support from California Lawmakers
Committee Approval Advances Landmark Measure to Senate Appropriations
As reported in May's newsletter, Chelsea's Law, California Assembly Bill 1844, continues to make its way through the California legislature, having passed out of the state's Senate Public Safety Committee June 29. The measure, authored by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher in partnership with the family of Chelsea King, is focused on ensuring the protection of children from violent sexual predators. The bill passed the Committee unanimously.
The law is named in memory of Chelsea King, the 17-year-old California girl who was raped and strangled by a repeat sex offender previously convicted of violently molesting a 13-year-old in 2000, for which he spent five years in prison. Her abductor, John Albert Gardner III, also admitted to raping and murdering 14-year-old Amber Dubois. Gardner received two life terms without possibility of parole for murdering King and Dubois, and a third life term with a 25-year minimum penalty for the attempted rape of a third woman who escaped by smashing him in the nose with an elbow.
Chelsea's Law includes four major changes to existing state sex offender laws by: 1) Establishing a one-strike system in which sexual predators who commit the most heinous crimes against children will receive life without parole; 2) Increasing penalties for forcible sex crimes against 14-to-17-year-olds in which there were no aggravating circumstances; 3) Lengthening the time released sex offenders remain on parole with GPS monitoring; and 4) Implementing the "containment model" for reducing repeat offenses by sex offenders by focusing on those who pose the greatest threat, as recommended by the Sex Offender Management Board.
SCP President Stacie Rumenap met with Assemblyman Fletcher's legislative staff last month to offer support for the bill.
Chelsea's Law enjoys the support of 55 legislative coauthors who span the political spectrum. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Attorney General Jerry Brown, United States Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, eight leading California district attorneys, and a number of California cities and counties have all declared their support for the legislation.
The bill will next advance to the California State Senate Appropriations Committee. A specific hearing date has not been set.
You can show your support for Chelsea's Law by signing a petition in support of the law through the Chelsea's Light Foundation.
About Stop Internet Predators
Stop Child Predators brings together a team of policy experts, law enforcement officers, community leaders, and parents that persuade lawmakers and the public to enact policies that protect America's children from sexual predators. Stop Child Predators is the only national organization that leads campaigns in every state to advocate legislation that prevents the sexual exploitation of children and protects the rights of victims.