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Senator pushes for more details on sex offenders

Argenziano has introduced a bill that asks law enforcement agencies to provide more information on their Web sites about sexual predators and offenders.

By EDDY RAMIREZ
Published February 26, 2007


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State Sen. Nancy Argenziano is known for being tough on sex offenders.

She remains committed to protecting children, she says. So don't be confused by her latest efforts to pass a law that might make life a bit easier for some people who have been labeled as sex offenders.

Argenziano has introduced a bill that asks law enforcement agencies to provide more information on their Web sites about sexual predators and offenders.

She wants the public to have access to details about a person's sexual offense: Which ones are repeat offenders, which ones preyed on children, which were involved in so-called Romeo and Juliet cases, which ones were young adults sexually involved with a teen who could not legally give consent?

Armed with that information, people could make more informed decisions about where to live and how to treat sex offenders in their neighborhoods.

"I want you to know that the person in bold red is the one you want to worry about," Argenziano said recently. "I want a clear distinction."

Senate Bill 0230 must clear several hurdles before it moves to the floor for a vote.

Meanwhile, Argenziano is working to harness the help and support of law enforcement agencies like the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Her bill would require agencies like the Citrus County Sheriff's Office to post links that give the public more details about an offender's crime.

The sheriff's Web site already distinguishes between offenders and predators but doesn't give specifics about the case beyond the charge.

Argenziano said she must get support from law enforcement.

"We want to make sure we don't have any unintended consequences and allow a sexual predator to slip through," she said.

Argenziano has sponsored a separate bill that is similar to one that passed unanimously in the House in early February. That bill requires registered sexual offenders to provide their e-mail or instant messaging addresses to the state.

The goal is to include them in a national sex offenders and predators database, so that offenders can't use popular sites like MySpace.

The Senate's Criminal Justice Committee was expected to review the bill last week.

Eddy Ramirez can be reached at eramirez@sptimes.com or 860-7305.

[Last modified February 25, 2007, 20:18:18]


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