States Balk At Adam Walsh Act; None Has Complied So Far


An effort to create uniform nationwide standards for how to keep track of sex offenders has stalled largely because states can’t or won’t pay the costs, the Dallas Morning News reports. Texas legislators must decide whether to comply with a new federal law that came without funding, or to stick with existing state statutes. Not a single state has complied with the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and its July 2009 compliance deadline. The 2006 law requires minimum standards for public registries, including who must register, for how long, and what information is made public. The law also set penalties for failing to register.

California estimated compliance would cost the state more than $21 million, said Allison Taylor of the Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment. The as-yet-undetermined price tag for Texas could also run into the millions. If states don’t comply, they’ll lose 10 percent of some federal grant money. In Texas, not complying could cost about $700,000, while complying will cost millions more. That may make the decision simple, said state Sen. Florence Shapiro, long an advocate of strong sex offender laws. “Seven hundred thousand on the one hand vs. $20 million on the other hand? It’s pretty easy to resolve,” she said. “Our laws are strong, and we don’t need to comply.”


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