Chelsea's Law clears final legislative step, heads to Governor to become law
After six month of work, "Chelsea's Law," California Assembly Bill 1844, cleared its final legislative hurdle and passed the State Assembly with a unanimous vote. The measure awaits a signature from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who pledged his support for the bill.
Chelsea's Law, named for 17-year-old Chelsea King who was raped and murdered in San Diego by a convicted sex offender, will toughen state sex offender laws. Authored by Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher in partnership with the family of Chelsea King, the law will better protect California children from violent sexual predators by enacting:
- A true one strike, life penalty without the possibility of parole for the most dangerous sexual offenders
- Increased sentences for forcible sex crimes
- Increased parole terms for those who target children under the age of 14
- Restrictions on sex offenders' ability to enter parks
- A first-in-the-nation containment model and dynamic risk assessment structure
- A requirement that Megan's Law publicly list sex offenders' risk assessment scores
- A revision of the California mentally disordered offender laws to provide for continued detention of offenders where evaluation and assessment deem necessary
Chelsea's Law received wide bi-partisan support throughout California, including the support of Governor Schwarzenegger, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, and U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.
The bill underwent months of revisions and sets the bar high for sex offender laws everywhere. In his presentation of Chelsea's Law before its final vote, Assemblyman Fletcher applauded the bipartisan efforts to make Chelsea's Law a reality.
The Governor will sign the measure into law within the next 30 days. Once signed, it will take effect immediately.