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Sex offender bill revived using gut-and-amend

A sex offender registry bill was revived by a lawmaker from San Francisco just days before the California legislative session was scheduled to end. After passing through four committees and the state senate, it was held up in the California Assembly Appropriations Committee. It was brought back by a process called gut-and-amend. This involves scrapping a dead bill, putting its contents into an active bill and then using that bill to bypass committee.

It was a controversial move that has been decried by those who want to see better governance. In this case, the text of the sex offender bill was placed in a bill that originally would have given cities the option to keep bars open until 4 a.m. According to the politician who was trying to push the bill, law enforcement and rape advocates had insisted that the current offender registry system was broken.

The current registry has 100,000 people, which is about 1 in 400 Californians. Some have said that it has become too difficult to determine who may actually be a risk to offend again. Under SB384, a person would be on the registry for 10 to 20 years after being released from prison. That person would then be removed provided that he or she hadn't committed another serious crime.

Those who are accused of sexual assault may face serious consequences if convicted. One of these consequences may be having their names placed on a sex offender list. This may make it harder to get a job or get into school. An attorney may be able to help an individual avoid a conviction by casting doubt on physical evidence or witness testimony. In some cases, an attorney may help an individual get a charge expunged.

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