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‘Public safety bill’ will increase transparency for serious sexual offenders on registry



Little Rock, Arkansas — Public safety is one of the top issues in this legislative session, according to Arkansas’s legislators.

A plan that would fully disclose the addresses of the most serious sex offenders in Arkansas on the state’s sex offender registry is receiving support from an increasing number of lawmakers as of Monday.

According to HB1004, the level three and level four sex offenders’ precise house, apartment, or unit numbers would be added to the Sex Offender Registry Act. Currently, only the street name and block number are necessary.

The Faulkner County Sheriff reportedly first approached bill sponsor David Ray (R-District 40) to campaign for this legislation. Attorney General Tim Griffin and the Sheriff’s Association have now approved the legislation.

Ray stated that the bill’s sponsors and supporters took into account activities like children trick-or-treating on Halloween or door-to-door marketers.

“Arkansas is one of only four states in the entire country and the only state in the southeast that doesn’t publish the full physical address,” Ray said.

Sheriff Rodney Wright of Saline County worries that this makes Arkansas a prime target for criminals. He declared that he fervently backs the new legislation and hopes that it would enhance state protection.

“Everyone wants to know where those high predatory offenders are, and I think we owe it to the citizens,” Wright said.

The bill has received support from the majority of lawmakers throughout the legislature, but others have voiced opposition to it.

Jan Sarna, a member of the public, attended the committee meeting on Monday to voice his opposition.

“Where is the verifiable proof of the danger that has been brought up in this bill,” he asked.

Sarna claimed that sex offenders have become stigmatized by citizens across the nation, and he questioned the likelihood that the majority of “serious criminals” would retaliate. He went on to say that in his opinion, the bill was founded on panic and terror.

“It is a bad idea to be a sex offender,” Sheriff Wright said. “If that offends them, I don’t care.”

The bill was approved on Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee after passing through the House Judiciary Committee and the House floor. Prior to being signed by Governor Sanders, it will make one last visit on the Senate floor on Tuesday for approval.

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