STATEHOUSE (Jan. 24, 2018) – State Sen. Joe Zakas (R-Granger) said a bill he has authored to close a loophole in Indiana’s sex offender registry law passed the State Senate. The vote on Senate Bill 60 was 49-0.
Currently, it is a Level 6 felony for a sex offender to fail to register as required, and a Level 5 felony for a second conviction for failure to register. SB 60 would make the enhanced penalty apply if a sex offender who moved to Indiana from another state had been convicted of a similar offense in that other state.
“This bill closes a loophole we currently have in state law by recognizing the out-of-state conviction of a sex offender for failing to register there,” Zakas said. “We do not want to give sex offenders an advantage in Indiana by allowing them to be charged with a lower level felony if they continue to fail to register as required.”
The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (IPAC) supports the bill. Chris Naylor, assistant executive director of IPAC, testified in support at the bill’s hearing in the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee Jan. 16. Naylor said, “We view this as an opportunity to have some consistency with out-of-state sex offenders who have been convicted for failure to register and those in Indiana who have done the same.”
All fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government maintain sex offender registries. These registries, which contain details about persons convicted of certain sexual crimes, are established and maintained to aid law enforcement. They also serve an important public notification purpose, since many are searchable. Sex offender registries have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
SB 60 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
CONTACT: Bretton Judy, Deputy Press Secretary