Last month the California State Assembly voted 49-0 to enact the Leno-Cohn Bill. The bill also known as AB 50 was designed to increase penalties on sex offenders and create a sex offender treatment program.
The bill was first introduced by John Leno (D-San Francisco) early December last year.
However, the bill, which appears to be the solution to the sex offender problem in California, is not all it’s cracked up to be.
The bill was intended to deceive the California public and to cast a shadow over Republicans’ initiatives to pass Jessica’s Law in California.
The bill was conjured up by Leno as a watered-down version of Jessica’s Law.
The Democrats’ main goal in introducing the bill was to deter public opinion that they are soft on crime. Democrats argued that Jessica’s Law was apparently too expensive, it did not treat molesters, it invaded their civil liberties and it won’t stop child molesters altogether.
On the other hand Jessica’s Law calls for harsher penalties for sex offenders, GPS tracking units, keeps sex offenders from living near schools and, most importantly, makes it a felony to have or produce child pornography. These important traits of Jessica’s Law were all watered down by Leno’s bill, AB 50.
But the most astonishing part of this whole debacle is that John Leno’s bill only makes having child pornography a felony if you own more than 100 items of child pornography.
The word ‘item,’ which was left undefined, could have been interpreted as a CD or DVD containing thousands of images of child pornography.
This idea of having more than 100 items of child pornography is an inexcusable idea especially by Leno, who is the chair of the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee.
What kind of people do we have in the Public Safety Committee these days who believe it is OK to have 100 items of child pornography?
Californians should be thankful that conservative assemblymen like Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) were on the scene to debate the matter to the very end. The conservative assemblymen and women spent one week debating the issue with Democrats.
The main points of the discussion that conservatives debated over were the amount of child pornography allowed and the fact that the word ‘item’ was left undefined in the bill.
The Democrats defended the bill even against strong opposition by Republicans. Their main excuse for defending the bill was that they believed Californians might accidentally stumble onto child pornography Web sites and accidentally download child pornography. This cannot be further from the truth. People don’t just accidentally download hundreds of ‘items’ of child pornography.
This leads me to conclude that Democrats just do not get it. They are so far left they have fallen off the scale.
They spent a week defending the right for people to have child pornography.
Furthermore, it is amazing that these people were actually voted into office by the good people of California.
During the week, the Republicans were able to get the Democrats to lower the limit on the amount of items from 100 to 10.
Finally, on Jan. 31, Leno and the Democrats released the final version that stated having any child pornography is a felony.
In the end, all but one Republican voted in favor of the bill.
The other 31 abstained to vote. Republicans exhibited their animosity toward the bill by using this political tactic. Abstaining means to neither vote for or against the measure proposed.
The good news is that Jessica’s Law advocates have collected enough signatures in California (around 550,000) to get the bill on the upcoming ballot in fall of this year. So don’t forget to vote!
All the info on the bill can be found on http://www.leginfo.ca.gov, just click on Bill Information and search AB 50.
Another interesting Web site to check out is http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov, where you will be able to search sex offenders in your neighborhood.
There are over 100,000 registered sex offenders in California or approximately 20 percent the national total.
When I searched, I came upon some interesting finds. In my hometown of Woodland Hills, I found a sex offender living across the street of an elementary school.
Edwin Ohanian is a first-year biological sciences major.