California has lost track of 33,296 sex offenders, or 44 percent of the 76,350 who registered with the state at least once, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday. California requires rapists and child molesters to register with law enforcement each year and the information is included in the Meganís law database. The 1996 law is named after Megan Kanka, a 7 year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who had moved in across the street. When presented with the APís findings, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said, ďOur system is inadequate, woefully inadequate. It can only be improved by putting money into the local law enforcement agencies. Itís a matter of resources.Ē
Despite the AP report, local police officials in California contend that Meganís law is working, the Los Angeles Times reported today. Although the state has lost track of almost half of the sex offenders in the state, they argue that the citiesí police departments are keeping track of convicted sex offenders. AP acknowledged in their report that cities like Los Angeles and San Jose are well-funded and successfully keep track of sex offenders in their jurisdiction, but that other localities are less organized and understaffed.
Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Meganís Law, argues that the problem exists primarily because the law relies on sex offenders to provide their addresses themselves, reported AP. In Washington state, where the failure rate is only 10 percent, the police are required to visit sex offenders each year to confirm their location, rather than relying on convicted offenders to report in and give accurate information. Demonstrating the inadequacies of the California Meganís law, recently arrested Kenneth Eugene Parnell, who is charged with trying to buy a child, was not considered a ďhigh-riskĒ offender under the law despite having been convicted for lewd and lascivious conduct on a child in the 1950s and for kidnapping a child in 1972 and another in 1980, the Contra Costa Times reported.
Media Resources: Associated Press 1/7/03; Los Angeles Times 1/9/03; San Francisco Chronicle 1/9/03; Contra Costa Times 1/7/03
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .