The Associated Press reported yesterday that “more than three years after Congress ordered stepped-up monitoring of sex offenders, only one state has adopted the government’s strict new requirements, and some others are weighing whether to ignore the law and just pay a penalty.”
Ohio is the only state that’s adopted the federal standards. Implementation of the standards have been stalled due to high costs and legal challenges from registered sex offenders.
The initial deadline for states to comply was in July. Then the deadline was extended to July 2010, although several states have signaled they may still be unable to meet it. States that do not adopt the mandates risk losing millions of dollars in federal grants.
The law was designed to keep closer tabs on sex offenders, including an estimated 100,000 who are not living where they are supposed to be. It would create a national sex offender registry and toughen penalties for those who fail to register.
Last year, a federal judge in Nevada declared the law unconstitutional because it would subject offenders to additional penalties after they have served their time. The Ohio Supreme Court heard similar arguments this month from more than 26,000 sex offenders who were convicted before the law was signed.
Critics have also complained that juvenile offenders would appear on registries in some states. And because the law requires offenders to register in person, it could unfairly burden people in rural areas who would have far to travel.