Saturday, 30 March 2013

Right To Work, Without Fear

21 hrs ago

Texas sex offenders in sight of rare policy win

"County Texas District Attorney Carlos Valdez looks at one of the signs that District Judge Manuel Banales ordered 21 registered sex offenders to place in their yards in Corpus Christi, Texas.

While statehouses nationwide work on legislation aimed at curbing how and where sex offenders can live and work, a proposal in Texas that would strip employment information from the state’s sex offender registry is being cheered by those on the list as a minor but extraordinary easing of the law.

Four convicted sex offenders huddled in a busy hallway at the Texas Capitol, congratulating each other for going public and testifying against a bill that would plaster their criminal past on their Facebook profiles.

As expected, not everyone was moved by their objections.

"I don't feel bad for the guys that came in here whining," Republican state Rep. Steve Toth said after the men had left the room at a recent House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee meeting. A Democrat switched on her microphone to voice on the record that she, too, had no sympathy.

In the Texas Legislature and statehouses nationwide, bills aimed at curbing how and where sex offenders can live and work are routine. But for the 72,000 registered sex offenders in Texas this year, there is optimism. A legislative victory is in sight, and it's not for sinking a fresh round of get-tougher proposals — but scaling back one already in place.

Pushing forward what advocates say would mark a minor but extraordinary softening of the state's sex offender laws, the GOP-controlled Senate has passed a bill to remove employer information from Texas' online sex offender registry.";_ylt=A2KJ2UiSEVdR6FEA9SPQtDMD

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