Oklahoma closing loopholes for sex offenders

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma is cracking down on sex offenders by closing loopholes.

A new law that will take effect November 1, 2014, will require sex offenders to register in Oklahoma if they spend 14 days in the state in a 60-day period.

House Bill 3016, authored by Representative Sean Roberts and Senator AJ Griffin, is said to be a critical tool for law enforcement.

Rep. Roberts said, “This legislation addresses sex offenders that come to stay in Oklahoma on a consistent basis, but never for seven consecutive days. An example would be an offender coming to stay with someone every week but never for a full week. The details of this legislation may seem trivial but current law allows sex offenders to legally hide in our communities by using this loophole. Closing the loophole means that law enforcement can take action against those who sneak into our communities without notification or registration.”

The bill was approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives by a vote of 88-4.

The state Senate voted in favor of the bill unanimously, 45-0.

Governor Mary Fallin signed the law on Monday, April, 7.

Gov. Fallin also signed into law Senate Bill 1444, which will require current photos of registered sex offenders in the state.

According to Senate Bill 1444, when sex offenders check in with local law enforcement, their photo must be updated if it is more than one year old.

Authors of the bill, Senator David Holt and Representative Elise Hall, believe this law will benefit the public.

Sen. Holt said this law is, “extremely important because the photograph is a key element of the registry.  It is far less useful to the public if the offenders on it cannot be identified.   Oklahoma families will be safer as a result of this legislation.”

Rep. Hall said, ““This legislation ensures that the information on the registry has a recent photo so that there is no way for sex offenders to hide from the public.”

Senate Bill 1444 passed the Senate unanimously by a vote of 45-0.

The bill passed the house by a vote of 90-1.

Along with House Bill 3016, Senate Bill 1444 will also take effect on November 1, 2014.