Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher Signs Historic Legislation to Crack Down on Sex Offenders
House Bill 3 targets sexual predators and opens some juvenile felony records
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Surrounded by Kentucky school children this morning at Peaks Mill Elementary School, Governor Ernie Fletcher signed into law House Bill 3 – legislation to strengthen Kentucky’s current laws regarding sexual offenders.
The original draft of HB 3 was based on the recommendations of the Kentucky Coalition Against Sexual Assaults (KCASA), a group led by the Lt. Governor to develop a plan for improving Kentucky’s current sex offender laws.
“I commend Lt. Governor Pence for his commitment to the families of Kentucky, and I applaud all members of the Kentucky General Assembly for supporting this legislation,” said Governor Fletcher. “House Bill 3 will help us protect the most vulnerable members of our society – our children. The strengthening of sex offender laws is long overdue. It is a tremendous honor for me to sign this bill into law today.”
“Our goal was to proactively strengthen Kentucky’s sexual offender laws before tragedy struck again,” added Lt. Governor Pence. “We did not want to have to name a Kentucky law after an innocent child who died at the hands of a predator. I am proud of our state legislators for putting politics aside and working together on a bill that will save lives.”
The provisions in HB 3 include the following:
- Convicted sex offenders must stay 1000 feet from the furthest point of the of the property line of schools, public pools, and daycare centers.
- Possession of child pornography will be moved from a misdemeanor crime to a felony.
- A jury will have the opportunity to sentence a repeat sex offender to a lifetime in prison without the possibility of parole for a minimum of 25 years.
- Public schools and universities will have the authority to require contractors to have criminal background checks.
- Felony juvenile convictions and those involving deadly weapons will be open to the public.
- Law enforcement will be allowed to review all juvenile court files, regardless of conviction.
Representative Joni Jenkins (D-Shively), who sponsored the bill in the House, said “This legislation will give parents additional tools they need to protect their children from harm. We are sending a clear message that sex offenders will not be tolerated in Kentucky.”
Representative Stan Lee (R-Lexington) played a key role in making sure the bill contained language that opened certain juvenile felony records. “Parents have the right to know if a student at their children’s school has a violent criminal record. Information is the most valuable line of defense a parent can have,” said Lee.
The Kentucky Senate also took the lead in strengthening the bill in several areas. Senator Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) carried the bill in the Senate and serves as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “HB 3 is a good and strong piece of legislation that is the collective result of the hard work of the Lieutenant Governor's Office, the House Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Stivers said.
Senator Julie Denton (R-Louisville) also carried the bill in the Senate and applauds the legislation as a proactive measure to protect families. “HB 3 lays the groundwork to help ensure the safety of our children,” said Denton.
Senator Alice Forgy Kerr (R-Lexington) echoed the sentiments. “This truly represents a bipartisan effort to protect Kentucky’s children.”