Legislation creating a juvenile sex offender registry and making public access to it and the register for adult offenders easier was signed into law on Friday by Gov. Phil Batt
The governor acted without comment as he reduced the number of bills still awaiting his decision to 17.
Among them are bills requiring parental consent before minors can obtain abortions, curtailing access by minors to tobacco, privatizing the State Insurance Fund and eliminating the reimbursement preference for Blue Cross.
The sex offender registries were promoted by Attorney General Al Lance and overwhelmingly approved by both the House and Senate. Advocates maintained protecting potential victims far outweighs concern for the rights of former offender.
Critics have warned easy public access to the registers will foster vigilantism against ex-offenders who have already served their sentences and are trying to put their lives back together.
In addition to expanding the information required of adult registrants and making it more easily available to the public, that bill also creates a special board to identify the convicted sex offenders it sees as violent sexual predators required to register every 90 days with authorities as long as they remain in Idaho.
Many of the bill’s provisions were mandated by the federal government under threat of losing $300,000.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Denton Darrington, R-Declo, said about 10 percent of those convicted of violent crimes would likely be designated violent sexual predators.
Since the state first created an adult sex offender register in 1993, 1,700 released felons have been required to sign - 160 of them convicted of violent sex crimes.
Other offenders can have their names removed from the register 10 years after they are released from prison if they can prove to a judge they are no longer a threat to reoffend.
The juvenile offender registry is similar.
It requires juveniles older than 13, after being released from custody, to register annually with law enforcement officials if they have been convicted - as juveniles - of sexual crimes that would be felonies if committed by adults.
The names would be automatically removed from the register at age 21 unless a prosecutor convinces a judge that continued registration is in the public interest.
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