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Pa. House Sends Senate Bills To Close Megan’s Law Loopholes

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The Pennsylvania House has passed and sent to the Senate two bills designed to strengthen the state’s Megan’s Law.

The bills are primarily designed to close loopholes that relate to transient sex offenders and sex offenders who move to the state and fail to register with state police. For homeless sex offenders, Allegheny County Republican Mike Turzai, the House majority leader, says they would have to register every 30 days and provide information about places where they sleep, eat and frequent.

“Transients have been folks that have fallen through the cracks on this because they don’t have a specific address,” he said. “So the way that the DA’s association has recommended it was provide us with landmarks, keep us updated every 30 days, and if you don’t do so there are penalties attached to it.”

Legislation addressing the issue was vetoed by former Governor Rendell because it contained additional provisions that would have expanded the right to use deadly force in self-defense.

The House also completed work on a government reform package yesterday with passage of a measure that would create a searchable, online database of state spending. But some Democrats like Michael Sturla of Lancaster say it exempts several state agencies and otherwise doesn’t go far enough…

“Now, we’ll get genuine fake reform. But it still says the word ‘reform.’ People will go home and beat their chests.”

But Beaver County Democrat Robert Matzie argued that it is real reform.

“Could we do better? Certainly. And hopefully this is a step toward doing better.”

A spokesman for the Senate majority leader says there is interest in taking up the database bill in the next month or two, but he could not say when the Senate might consider other bills in the reform package, which includes measures that would strengthen whistleblower protections and would bar lawmakers from creating or maintaining non-profit groups that receive public funds.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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