Klippert’s sex offender Internet bill goes to governor

Measure would study whether sex offender Internet information should be collected

A bill that would review whether sex and kidnapping offenders should submit their Internet and e-mail addresses to law enforcement is on its way to the governor following final passage in the House of Representatives today. The vote was 98-0.

It's not exactly the legislation Rep. Brad Klippert envisioned when he wrote the measure. However, he said the amended Senate version of House Bill 2035 keeps alive the issue of monitoring convicted sex and kidnapping offenders' usage of the Internet.

“The original bill I authored would have required convicted sex and kidnapping offenders to report their e-mail addresses and any of their Web sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, to law enforcement when requested upon release from custody. These are places on the Internet where young people hang out and can be vulnerable to predators who use these sites to groom their next victims,” said Klippert, R-Kennewick. “The measure ran into a number of problems along the way from people concerned about violation of civil rights. I worked with all parties to address those issues, but this bill was nearly dead. So to keep it alive, it was turned into a study.”

The final bill directs the Sex Offender Policy Board to include in its November 2009 legislative report, a review and recommendations about whether offenders should be required to submit their e-mail and Internet addresses to law enforcement upon request. It also asks the board to recommend sanctions for failure to comply.

“My goal is to ensure the safety of Washington's citizens. We want to protect young people who use social networking sites on the Internet from becoming the next victims of potential predators. And we want to prevent kidnapping and sex offenders from re-offending,” said Klippert, who also serves as a Benton County deputy sheriff. “Although this bill won't get us there, it opens the door for a more comprehensive dialogue and review of this issue for possible future legislation that would achieve our goal.”

While the Legislature is in session, the governor has five days after she has received the measure, excluding Sundays, to sign, veto, or allow the legislation to become law without her signature.

For more information, contact: John Sattgast, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7257

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov