HOUSE BILL NO. 458
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO COMMUNITY NOTIFICATION OF SEX OFFENDER AND TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF THE COMMUNITY NOTIFICATION TASK FORCE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :
WHEREAS, the Community Notification Task Force was established to develop recommendations to implement community notification of sex offenders and report such recommendations to the General Assembly and Governor; and
WHEREAS, the Community Notification Task Force recommends that all children should be as safe as possible in our schools and communities; and
WHEREAS, the Community Notification Task Force recommends that community notification should primarily remain the responsibility of the law enforcement community, that notifications should be as uniform as possible across different police jurisdictions and as accessible as possible and include as much information as is necessary for the community to make informed decisions about personal safety; and
WHEREAS, the Community Notification Task Force recommends that schools must be informed when a juvenile sex offender enrolls in the school, both for the safety of the school community and for the safety of the juvenile sex offender, and that schools and licensed child care providers have a responsibility to ensure that all staff and parents are aware of all registered sex offenders in their community; and
WHEREAS, the examination of many of the issues raised in the Task Force's report requires much greater study and analysis by the criminal justice community; and
WHEREAS, the Community Notification Task Force recommends that the Task Force should be continued until January 2003, to advise and oversee implementation of the Task Force recommendations, including the development of a public awareness campaign.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend §4120(b), Title 11 of the Delaware Code by inserting a new subsection at the end thereof to read as follows:
"(3) If an offender is attending school, the offender shall inform the principal of the school upon enrollment of his or her registration."
Section 2. Amend §4120(d)(2), Title 11 of the Delaware Code by striking the word "and" between the words "residence" and "employment" and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:
", study and/or".
Section 3. Amend §4120(f)(1), Title 11 of the Delaware Code by deleting the first sentence thereof and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"Any sex offender who is required to register pursuant to this section, who thereafter changes his or her residence address or place of employment and/or study, shall reregister with the Delaware State Police within 7 business days of the change."
Section 4. Amend §4121(a)(1), Title 11 of the Delaware Code by deleting the second and third sentences and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"Methods of notification may include, but not be limited to door-to-door appearances, mail, electronic mail, telephone, fax, newspapers or notices, or any combination thereof, to schools, licensed day care facilities, public libraries and other accessible public facilities within the community. Community notification shall include where possible all information required to be included in the searchable records pursuant to subsection (3) of this section."
Section 5. Amend §4121(a)(1), Title 11 of the Delaware Code by deleting the fourth, fifth, and sixth sentences thereof.
Section 6. Amend §4121(a)(3), Title 11 of the Delaware Code by deleting from the end of the second sentence the phrase "and the date(s) of the conviction(s)" and by inserting in lieu thereof the following:
", the date(s) of the convictions and all information required for registration pursuant to §4120(d)(2) of this Chapter as is practicable given the method of community notification, except that relationship to the victim shall not be a searchable record and age of victim shall be searchable only by age ranges birth to eleven years, twelve to fifteen years, sixteen to seventeen years and eighteen and above."
Section 7. Amend §4121(a)(3), Title 11 of the Delaware Code by deleting the fourth sentence thereof and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"These records shall be searchable by the name of the sex offender, suitable geographic criteria and by as many other required data elements as is technically feasible. These records shall be made available upon request through police agencies, public libraries, public schools and through the Internet."
Section 8. Amend §4121, Title 11 of the Delaware Code by adding a new subsection (v) to read as follows:
"(v)(1). If a school, school district or licensed child care provider receives community notification, the community notification must be placed in a binder and kept in the administrative office available to view upon request by adults and juveniles with adult supervision. No community notification may be removed from the binder unless the school or child care provider is notified of an address change informing them that the offender has moved from the community. The school, school district or licensed child care provider shall notify parents and staff frequently through their regular communications of the availability and location of the community notification binder.
(2). The physical posting of community notifications in public school buildings and license child care facilities is prohibited.
(3). Schools shall ensure that students are taught personal safety and awareness skills in an age appropriate manner, consistent with the Delaware Health Education Curriculum Framework."
Section 9. The Departments of Education and Services for Children, Youth and Their Families shall develop guidelines for schools and licensed child care providers to implement Section 8 of this Act. Guidelines shall be provided to schools and licensed child care providers within thirty days of the enactment of this bill.
Section 10. Schools and licensed day care providers shall implement the requirements of Section 8 of this Act as soon as possible but no later than sixty days after its enactment.
Section 11. The Community Notification Task Force, established pursuant to House Bill No. 381 of the 141st General Assembly, shall be continued until January 31, 2003 to advise and oversee the implementation of this Act. Representatives of the Department of Public Safety, Department of Technology and Information, Government Information Center and the Delaware Justice Information Center shall be added to the Task Force. The Task Force shall oversee the development of a public awareness campaign using existing state, federal and private sector resources and the development of a pilot subscriber system as a component of the state's Sex Offender website. The Task Force shall report to the General Assembly on the implementation of this Act no later than January 31, 2003.
Section 12. This bill shall become effective upon its enactment into law.
Approved April 25, 2002