For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - Rep. Joyce Maker (R-Calais) convinced the Maine Legislative Council Thursday afternoon to allow her bill to strengthen Maine's sex offender registry into the 2014 legislative session at the State House. The successful 9-1 appeal comes after initial denial of the measure along party lines on October 30.
Rep. Maker introduced the proposal after being contacted by a Department of Homeland Security agent stationed at U.S.-Canada border crossing in Calais. He told her that an American convicted of sexual assault of a child under 16 in Canada was being deported back to the U.S. but that state law enforcement agencies were not authorized to place him on the registry because his conviction occurred outside the country.
Rep. Maker inquired with the Maine Attorney General's Office about the possibility of placing the individual on the Sex Offender Registry, but the AG's Office said it would require legislative action to change the law.
"I introduced the bill because we have an emergency on our hands," said Rep. Maker. "It is completely nonsensical that someone convicted of a sex offense in Canada should be able to evade the safeguards of Maine's sex offender registry when they move or return here to Maine."
Initially in the afternoon, the Council voted to table Maker's bill for further consideration. It later took the bill up and voted to approve the appeal, 9-1, with Democratic Senator Anne Haskell dissenting. Republicans on the panel said that Maker is raising an issue that warrants the legislature's attention as soon as possible, and that her bill should be allowed to proceed.
"I'm thankful to those who changed their votes to support this important legislation," said Rep. Maker. "We must do something to protect our children against those who would harm them. I couldn't imagine raising a child next door to a sex offender and not even knowing because of some technicality in state law. This needs to be fixed."
Maine House Republicans
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