California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed bills to tighten surveillance of criminals and crack down on child molesters, but vetoed a bill endorsed by Republicans to find ways to keep more than 105,000 registered sex offenders from committing more crimes, according to the Los Angeles Times. One new law allows counties and the state to strap global positioning system devices to the ankles of criminals on probation or parole and track them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Florida officials, who began using such devices a decade ago, credit them with a big drop in repeat offenses. “We really, really wanted this,” said Vicki Mathews of the Orange County Probation Department, which is prepared to go out to bid to buy the devices. “This gives us an extra level of supervision for those folks who are high-risk.”
Vetoed was a bill unanimously approved by legislators that would have created a Sex Offender Management Board that would use federal money to make recommendations on how best to house, treat, track, and assess the about 105,000 registered sex offenders in California. About 20,000 of them remain under law enforcement supervision. Schwarzenegger said that under the bill, not one sexual offender would have spent a day longer in prison, been prohibited from living near schools, or been monitored by satellite tracking. “This bill is a recipe to create more red tape, not public safety,” the governor wrote. Some of his proposals that stalled would have required registered sex offenders to wear global positioning system devices for the rest of their lives, increased penalties for child molestation, made possession of child pornography a felony, and expanded parole terms to as much as a decade for some sex offenders. Those proposals may now be presented to voters in a June 2006 initiative.