A national registry would eliminate differences in the way states deal with convicted sex offenders, says Laura Ahearn, director of Parents for Megan’s Law, Newsday reports. Congress must iron out differences in competing legislation passed by the House and Senate to create such a list. Last Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that would create a federal DNA database, link state registries, and increase the penalties when sex offenders fail to report their whereabouts. But the bill is “very different” from one passed in March in the House, said Ahearn.
The Senate bill doesn’t require states to include those considered less dangerous, Ahearn said. Discrepancies in state laws make it difficult to track the movement of sex offenders, Ahearn said. She said 24 percent of convicted offenders don’t appear on state registries. Nationwide, there are 540,846 registered sex offenders.