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November 18, 2003


Says Barrios amendment “ties the hands” of law enforcement


Governor Mitt Romney today called on members of the legislative conference committee currently considering the supplemental budget bill to reject the amendment that unnecessarily delays the posting of information on the Internet on the state’s most dangerous sex offenders.


“This potential delay in giving the public wider access to photographs of our state’s worst sex offenders is counterproductive,” Romney said. “It ties the hands of law enforcement at a time when we should be working together to give the public the information they need to protect themselves.”


Both the House and Senate adopted amendments to the supplemental budget bill permitting Internet posting of sex offender information. But Senate language, sponsored by state Senator Jarrett Barrios, would prohibit Internet dissemination until the Sex Offender Registry Board classifies all known offenders, a process that will not be completed until spring.


“Governor Romney and I applaud House and Senate members for passing this critical public safety measure,” said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. “But we shouldn’t have to take two steps backward in order to take a step forward. The conferees should reject the Barrios amendment.”


Said Public Safety Secretary Ed Flynn: “I strongly urge the Legislature to pass this bill without the Senate amendment and give the Sex Offender Registry Board the tools it needs to fulfill its core mission.”


Romney noted that 35 other states and several of the Commonwealth’s local police departments already post sex offenders images on their Web sites.


More than five months ago, Romney filed legislation to post Level 3 sex offenders’ information on the Internet in the wake of a Superior Court order that prevented the Administration from moving forward with the initiative without explicit statutory authority.


There are currently 647 classified Level 3 sex offenders in the Sex Offender Registry’s database that are ready to be posted on the Internet. Only detailed information on Level 3 high-risk sex offenders will be put on the Web. The public will be able to view offender’s photo, name, home and work address, the charges the sex offender has been convicted of and a physical description.




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