Wednesday, February 20, 2013

UPDATED: Ninth District Legislators Fear Progress on Jessica Lunsford Act May Be Slowed; Galloway Patch



In a email sent out on February 19, 2013 from the District 9 Legislative Offices of Senator Conners, Assemblyman Rumpf and Assemblywoman Gove, concerns over amendments to the Legislative Bill (S-380) entitled "Jessica Lunsford Act" were expressed. 

Councilman Jim McElwee expressed his concerns as well stating, "As a supporter of the Jessica Lunsford Act ( Bill # S-380), I find any further delay in it's passage to be very disappointing. I will watch with great interest for the vote on Feb. 21st of the watered down version A-2027. I continue to stand behind Mrs. J and her CUFFS Committee to support their hard work and dedication to this cause!"

*Updated* After the Bill A-2027 passed through the Assembly, McElwee issued the following statement,"I am disappointed that the Bill A-2027 was offered in a diluted version and not the original Bill S-380 that was passed by the Senate almost unanimously. However, you take your victory's when you can get them and supporters of this bill have fought long and hard for many years, especially here in Galloway. Mrs. J. and the CUFFS committee are to be congratulated for their tensity in pushing Local and State Legislators to pass this into law for the protection of children across the State." has obtained the full email text sent to supporters is released below:

"As you are aware, in October of last year, legislation (S-380) entitled the “Jessica Lunsford Act” passed the Senate and, subsequently, was sent on to the Assembly for consideration.  Since that time, our Delegation has strongly advocated for the Assembly Leadership to post S-380, given the strength of its provisions and that the legislation has already been passed by the Senate.

Recently, we were apprised the Assembly scheduled a floor vote for Thursday, February 21, 2013 on another, weaker version of the “Jessica Lunsford Act.”  The measure that has been placed on the Assembly voting board list is A-2027, which would impose mandatory terms of imprisonment on persons convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under the age of 13.  Under the measure, the person would be sentenced to a specific term of between 25 years and life imprisonment.  

Notably, A-2027 differs from S-380 in that it does not contain a harboring provision.   Under S-380, which was passed by the Senate, it would be a crime of the fourth degree for a person to hinder the apprehension or prosecution of a person who has not registered or verified his address with the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Our Delegation is extremely disappointed that the Assembly Leadership posted this watered-down version of the “Jessica Lunsford Act.”  We find it interesting that the Assembly Leadership chose this course of action despite the fact that S-380 garnered near unanimous support in the Senate.  This is troubling from two aspects.  First, the version being considered by the Assembly on Thursday does not include a harboring provision.  Second, passing A-2027 will further delay the enactment of the “Jessica Lunsford Act” as the Senate would be required to reconsider the legislation.

New Jersey residents have already waited too long for the enactment of the Jessica Lunsford Act in their state.  Like so many of our constituents, we are discouraged with Legislative Leadership’s constant delays in this matter that directly concerns the health, welfare and safety of our most vulnerable citizens – our children.

As cosponsors and strong supporters of the Jessica Lunsford Act, our Delegation has a long standing track record of working with proactive constituents, such as you, to strengthen New Jersey’s sex offender laws to more effectively safeguard our children and communities.  Mandatory sentencing for the most dangerous sex offenders is critical, given the propensity of these predators to reoffend.

Moving forward, our Delegation will continue to advocate for the enactment of the strongest possible version of the “Jessica Lunsford Act.”  Given your active interest in this issue, you will want to know that important information regarding New Jersey’s sex offender laws has been prepared by the State’s Attorney General’s Office and made available online at:  We believe you will find this website to be a valuable resource.

Certainly, we will apprise you of any further developments regarding the “Jessica Lunsford Act.”  In the meanwhile, if you have any questions or comments regarding this communication or any other State matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.  As always, we stand ready to serve the constituents of the 9th Legislative District." 


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