(Host) The Legislature’s Administrative Rules Committee has given its approval to emergency rules to allow the state to launch an Internet sex offenders registry on October 1. However the committee expressed disappointment that the Public Safety Department didn’t work on the project over the summer.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) The Douglas administration is seeking emergency rules to get this project started because it doesn’t have enough time to go through the normal rules process to have the registry up and running by October 1 – a start up date that was included in the legislation creating the registry.
It usually takes three months for rules to be formally adopted and, in this case, public hearings will be held to take testimony on various aspects of the legislation. The bill was signed into law on June 8 but the Public Safety Department didn’t file its rules until the beginning of this month. Without the emergency action the Internet registry would be delayed until at least until December.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Peg Flory told the committee that she reluctantly supports the department’s proposal for emergency rule making:
(Flory) “If I were on the committee, I would probably rant, rave, scream, pound the table and say, ‘Don’t you ever put me in this position again.’ And then vote yes and adopt the emergency rules.”
(Kinzel) Public Safety Commissioner Kerry Sleeper says the emergency rules are needed because the public needs to be aware of the 135 people who will originally be put on the Internet registry:
(Sleeper) “My concern is with the 135 people that I’m dealing with here. I don’t trust one of them one day beyond October 1 not to be on a Web site. Because the fact is, quite honestly, these are the worst of the worst of sex offenders – serious criminals, repeat offenders or people who have totally ignored the process. And there’s outstanding warrants out for them. Statistical data will clearly illustrate that these people will re-offend.”
(Kinzel) With the emergency rules, Sleeper says the Internet sex offenders registry will be up and operating on October 1. These rules will expire in 90 days and the formal rules will need to be in place at that time.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.