Gov Brad Henry has signed legislation to make sure out-of-state sex offenders with Oklahoma spouses don’t evade the state’s sex offender registry.
The legislation also shortens the amount of time convicted sex offenders have to register with the Department of Corrections and local police, from three days to two days.
Sen. Jay Paul Gumm is principal author of Senate Bill 1096. Gumm filed the bill in response to a constituent who was concerned about the safety of his grandchildren.
“This constituent told me he was concerned convicted sex offenders with legal addresses in Texas, could come back across the state line to visit spouses in Oklahoma,” Gumm related. “By maintaining Texas addresses, pedophiles could avoid Oklahoma’s sex offender registry.”
“That was a big worry to my constituent and a serious weakness in our statutes. Now we can better protect Oklahoma families, especially those living in border areas.”
Gumm, a Democrat from Durant, said the new law requires convicted sex offenders to register with local law enforcement within two days of entering the state, regardless of where they were convicted.
Rep. John Carey, a fellow Democrat from Durant, was Gumm’s co-author in the House of Representatives. Carey said this was an important public safety issue.
“As a parent, I can tell you if there was a sex offender living in my neighborhood, or just visiting from time to time, I would certainly want to know,” he said. “That kind of information can help parents protect their children from these predators.”